Transport for the North, the statutory body representing civic and business leaders from across the whole of the region, has welcomed the Government’s proposal to identify a Major Road Network for England and highlighted the roads in the North of England which should be included.
The Department for Transport proposed the creation of a Major Road Network, which identifies the local roads which are vital to economic growth but which are not part of the Strategic Road Network managed by Highways England. It also published a draft map of the Major Road Network and carried out a public consultation on these proposals, which closes today.
Last year, Transport for the North, led by its CEO Barry White (pictured) and its partners carried out an extensive mapping exercise, defining the Major Road Network for the North as the network which links the region’s important economic centres: major population centres, ports and airports, industry clusters, enterprise zones, universities, other key employment sites and major centres of tourism.
This defined network, which also provides connections between the strategic road network and transport hubs, was agreed with all nineteen of the North’s local transport authorities and has formed the rationale behind Transport for the North’s response to the consultation.
Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s Major Roads Director, said, “We agree with the Government that identifying and investing in the roads that will support economic growth is vital. We know that local expertise is paramount in ensuring that we get this right.
“Only 2% of the roads in the North are defined as strategic roads. Our research has shown that the region’s major road network represents around 7% of its roads, with 2% of this being strategic roads and the other 5% being roads managed by local authorities.
“We think that it is vital that this is seen as one integrated network rather than separate parts. After all, drivers turning from a motorway onto the road that will take them into a town or city centre do not care if the part of the route that delays their arrival at their destination is managed by Highways England or the local authority. They care that they are unable to reach their destination in good time.
“There are several major roads which do not appear on the Department for Transport’s draft map, but which we know offer crucial links for citizens and businesses and offer opportunities to facilitate economic growth. We have provided them with an exhaustive list and evidence base on where these gaps are and we look forward to seeing this information reflected in the final version of the Major Road Network.”
Gaps in the proposed Major Road Network identified by Transport for the North include the A690 and A1018 connecting Port of Sunderland to the A19, the A595 in Cumbria, the A1079 to Hull, the A666 connecting Blackburn to the M61 and Greater Manchester, the A59 connecting to Skipton to Harrogate and the A1(M), and the A54 connecting East and West Cheshire.