Midlands Engine shifts up a gear as Highways England announces progress on major regional schemes

Rebecca Smith
Highways England is delivering over £15bn of investment over 100 schemes
Highways England is delivering more than £15bn of investment over 100 schemes (Source: Getty)

Don't get too excited, but it looks like it could just be full steam ahead for the Midlands Engine after Highways England announced major progress on multi-million pound projects.

The plan to invest in the region's infrastructure and businesses has been boosted by Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan announcing significant developments on a number of projects. He also promised more jobs and a boost to the region's economy.

"We are currently delivering more than £15bn of investment in over 100 major schemes across England that will enhance, renew and improve the network and it's fantastic to see key projects like these in the Midlands making real progress," he said at the Highways UK event in Birmingham.

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"The Midlands is at the heart of England's strategic road network and investment in schemes like these benefits the whole country. This region really is the Midlands Engine which drives the country," he added.

The package O'Sullivan unveiled included:

  • Completion within weeks of the £191m improvement scheme at Catthorpe junction 19 of the M1
  • Key progress on the £106m A45/A46 Tolbar End improvement scheme
  • Consultation on a £282m scheme to improve traffic flow around junction six of the M42, bringing benefits for the airport and beyond with the pending HS2 hub nearby
  • Preferred route announcement to improve three roundabout junctions on the A38 on £65m plans to improve junction 10 of the M6

Around 142,000 vehicles pass through the junction 19 interchange of the M1, M6 and A14 at Catthorpe each day. Roadworks are being removed ahead of the scheme's completion in December.

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Also next month, a consultation will get under way on the major junction improvement to accommodate increasing traffic flows in the area.

The Midlands Engine project was boosted by £12m transport funding from transport secretary Chris Grayling last month.

Midlands Connect, a partnership between local authorities and enterprise which works with the Department for Transport and local transport operators to identify investment priorities, will have funding guaranteed for three years.

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