Plans To Enhance Road Network
A mini-motorway network could evolve from the nation's most congested A-roads as part of a multi-billion pound modernisation.
An A-road that transforms into a mini-motorway – or expressway - would have some of its traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions removed to enable the traffic to proceed with fewer interruptions.
As with the current motorway network, access could come via a slip road and slow vehicles such as tractors and pedal bikes might be banned. Emergency bays could be built for vehicles that breakdown.
Road Investment Strategy
The Highways Agency – that will become Highways England from April 1st 2015 – has made the case for the mini-motorway network in its Road Investment Strategy document that it presented to Parliament.
The document argues: “Users of motorways know they can expect a broadly consistent standard from the whole of their road and that this ensures they have a safe, free-moving, journey.” It adds: “The same is not true of A-roads, where piecemeal upgrades have often resulted in inconsistency and substandard stretches of the road that are often less safe and a regular cause of congestion.”
It concluded: “By 2040, we want to have transformed the most important of these routes into expressways: A-roads that can be relied upon to be as well-designed as motorways and which are able to offer the same standard of journey to users.” This means:
- “Largely or entirely dual carriageway roads that are safe, well-built and resilient to delay.”
- “Junctions which are largely or entirely grade separated, so traffic on the main road can pass over or under roundabouts without stopping.”
- “Modern safety measures and construction standards.”
- “Technology to manage traffic and provide better information to drivers.”
Mini-Motorway Network Locations
The mini-motorway network could evolve from the: A1 north of Newcastle, A14 from Huntingdon to Cambridge, A556 between M56 and M6, A46 between the A1 and M1, A38 from Exeter to Camborne, A27 along the south coast, A3 south of Guildford and the A2 from south east London to Kent. It would most likely then expand elsewhere.
Simon Williams, an RAC spokesman, said the concept has “potential” but added: “The devil of the new proposals will be in the detail – what rules will apply to these new types of highway? And how will they be designed in a way that is safe for motorists? A clear national standard on their operation will need to be looked at."