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Early start for MRN upgrades probed


06 July 2018

The DFT is reviewing possible improvements to the Major Road Network that could be early candidates for the new National Roads Fund.

The fund is being set up in 2020/21 by ring-fencing vehicle excise duty revenues in England. Most of the funding will be allocated to Highways England but a proportion will be used for improving the Major Road Network (MRN) of the most important local authority roads. 

The DfT recently wrote to sub-national transport body Transport for the North and representatives of England’s other sub-regions, asking them for potential early candidate MRN schemes. 

Projects had to be in a position to start construction in 2020/21, and preferably in the cost range £20m-£50m, though schemes outside these bounds would be considered if they met other criteria. Schemes should add capacity, relieve congestion, and/or support the economy.

England’s Economic Heartland, the shadow STB stretching from Swindon to Cambridgeshire, contacted member authorities for suggested schemes. Only two projects satisfied the criteria and these have been sent to the DfT:

• a £34.5m package of five capacity improvements proposed by Hertfordshire County Council for the east-west A414 between Hatfield and Watford

• A Buckinghamshire County Council proposal for funding the incremental cost of building the Aylesbury Eastern Link Road as a dual carriageway rather than a single carriageway 

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