Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has today (Thursday 19 October) has announced a £345.3 million funding package to improve local roads and public transport across the country.
76 projects from across the country have been awarded funding totalling £244 million. The remaining £101.3 million will pay for two new major roads in Middlewich, Cheshire and Worcester in the Midlands.
Mr Grayling said, “This Government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future and investing a record £23 billion on our roads to increase capacity and improve journeys.
“These schemes will provide much needed upgrades to essential local roads up and down the country, cutting congestion, improving safety and shortening journey times for drivers.
“They will also help boost regional economic growth by unlocking jobs and supporting vital new housing development.”
The funding covers a huge range of projects put forward by local authorities. These will bring key benefits to local road users, such as improving access to public transport sites, opening up more roads for cyclists, addressing key local traffic ‘pinch points’ and supporting the development of new housing.
The only successful funding recipient in the Somerset area was a Centre Transport Enhancement Scheme in Weston-super-Mare, with £2.95 million of the £4.45 million total cost funded. The scheme, bid by North Somerset Council, will be a bus interchange, providing a central hub for access and real-life information linked to the railway station. In addition, it will strengthen pedestrian links and provide cycle infrastructure to link destinations and existing routes.
Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said, “The funding award is fantastic news for Weston-super-Mare, and certainly this is a step in the right direction for the county in terms of bettering our local infrastructure. We must ensure that significant, long-term infrastructural developments continue to be carried out across Somerset if we are to improve productivity and efficiency, and begin to bridge the gap between ourselves and the country’s big cities.
“Somerset needs robust and leading infrastructure that enables people and products to move in a timely and efficient manner. Unfortunately, bids by Somerset County Council were unsuccessful, and though this may be an opportunity lost, we will continue to press for future physical improvement schemes”
Funding for all these schemes is being provided from the National Productivity Investment Fund and the Large Local Majors fund. This is part of the government’s record investment in road to help keep Britain moving and the economy growing.