The sub-national transportation body, Midlands Connect, has published a new list of 20 road projects that it wants to see prioritised from 2020 – 2025 in the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2).
Midlands Connect explores, develops and recommends transport projects which will provide the biggest possible economic and social benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK. The partnership is made up of 22 local authorities, nine Local Enterprise Partnerships, East Midlands and Birmingham airports, and chambers of commerce stretching from the Welsh border to the Lincolnshire coast, and has developed a 25-year transport strategy which supports the Midlands Engine.
The document Midlands Connect published today covers a number of already committed projects which were scheduled for completion during Road Investment Strategy 1 (RIS1) in the period between 2015 – 2020, asking for assurances that these projects will still be delivered as promised. The list also calls for clarity that new schemes focus on supporting the local economy through job creation, housing and offer a resilient alternative to the motorway network.
The current road fund for the five-year period is a record £25 billion, an increase of 40% on the previous period. Many of what Midlands Connect has called ‘nationally important’ projects are scheduled for development during RIS1 and RIS2, and the transport arm of the Midlands Engine has called for clarity and confirmation that these developments will go ahead as scheduled.
The five key takeaways of the list are:
- Complete the construction of RIS1 (2015-2020) commitments
- Deliver schemes developed in RIS1 (2015-20) during RIS2 (2020-2025)
- Deliver new schemes in RIS2 (2020-2025)
- Plan for the future: support corridor approaches – this refers to the suggestion of moving away from a restrictive 5-year format for these projects
- Strengthen the relationship with Highways England
The document also proposes future relationships to be developed with HS2 Ltd., the controversial high-speed rail project which will deliver connections in the region. The proposal focuses on a joint venture to develop a compressive scheme for the A52 and M1 at Junction 25 in the East Midlands region, ready to support the arrival of the new transport services to the region.
Simon Statham, Director of Technical Programmes at Midlands Connect, said:
“These priorities will allow the Midlands to make the most of record investment in our roads over the next five years, and future-proof the network for the next generation. Midlands Connect already has a close relationship with Highways England and the Department for Transport, but strengthening our collaboration further can ensure investment is targeted in the right place at the right time and for the right reasons.”
Currently, a third of all road freight in the UK travels through, to or from the Midlands, making investment in the region imperative. Privately-held companies such as JCB also support the call to action as a key employer across the county, quoting the potential for economic growth
An announcement regarding RIS2 is expected later in 2019.
The Midlands Connect Strategy, as well as its latest report, Our Routes to Growth, can be downloaded here:
The Midlands Engine Vision for Growth can be downloaded here: