MORE than £100 million is set to be spent updating roads, paths and bridges in the south west this year.
National Highways has announced its spending in the region to ‘create safer and smoother journeys for drivers on the South West’s roads’.
The £103m package of renewals and improvements will be delivered during the current financial year, which runs from April 1.
National Highways oversees predominantly motorways and A roads across the region, and plans for renewals include road resurfacing, bridge refurbishments, motorway safety barrier upgrades, bridge joint replacements, improved signage and drainage and renewal of traffic lights.
The renewals capital spend covers 75 schemes across the region – some of them already under way – and over a network of 794 carriageway miles covering Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Minister for Roads, Richard Holden, said: “Over the next year, the South West will see over £100 million for maintaining, repairing and improving its roads.
“This substantial investment will ensure communities from Cornwall to Wiltshire are better connected, as we grow the economy, and drivers enjoy safe and reliable journeys.”
Jason Hones, National Highways’ South West regional director, said: “It’s vital that National Highways’ motorways and A-roads are kept in good condition to make sure they remain safe, reliable and keep the South West moving.
“This investment will help us achieve the ambitious plans we have for our roads, the communities we serve and the environment.
“Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day for work journeys, home deliveries and the movement of goods and services, so it’s essential we continue to deliver the essential maintenance and upgrades throughout the region to keep them in a good condition to ensure safety and reliability.”
Among its comprehensive programme of renewals and improvements for 2023/204, National Highways is working to:
• Refurbish the decks of the M5 junction 15 and 16 bridges at the Almondsbury Interchange;
• Repair and refurbish the M5 Bamfurlong Lane bridge near Cheltenham;
• Refurbish structures at junctions 24 and 25 of the M5;
• Start a technology upgrade in the A38 Saltash Tunnel;
• Upgrade lighting to LED units along the M4, M5, M49 and A303;
• Repair retaining walls on the A36 at Dundas, near Bath;
• Stabilise a landslip alongside the A35 at Chideock.
In addition to the maintenance and renewals investment, around £5.5 million of funding will be spent on environmental and biodiversity projects and facilities for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians, a spokesperson said.
“Work in this area has already seen biodiversity benefits brought to the roadside verges of the A35 in Dorset, the M4 in Wiltshire and the A46 in Bath & North East Somerset, fish passes installed alongside the A38 in Devon, and funding for new cycling and walking routes in Somerset and Gloucestershire,” they added.