Highways England have begun work on major improvement works that will see large and busy roads made safer and more accessible for cyclists.
The organization are responsible for managing 4,400 miles of road and have an overall budget of £11billion to spend on delivering the Government’s Road Investment Strategy – £100 million of which will go on schemes to make cycling safer and more enjoyable.
As outlined in their ‘Cycling Strategy’ the work will include reviewing the existing network, identifying ways to improve cycling conditions as well as creating new networks. Alongside this, they want to train and develop their planners and engineers to consider cycling more carefully, and support development of cycling related infrastructure.
Ultimately, the drive comes as a response to research that shows encouraging cycling could save the NHS £17billion over 20 years, as well as improving retail growth, saving road and parking space, and improving mobility for the poorest members of the population.
Of the 200 major projects Highways England have planned over the next five years, 40 initiatives focus on making A roads and motorway junctions easier for cyclists to use by separating them from traffic via cycle lanes and crossings as well as adding in signs to make drivers more aware.
Examples of the work include a 2.5 mile stretch along the A12 in Lowestoft, Suffolk, where a cycle route will go through the town, a new footbridge over the A27 in Kingsham in Hampshire and new signs over a 12 mile section of the A590 in Cumbria.
Highways England’s Cycling Champion, Richard Leonard, said: “These improvements will make cycling easier around major A roads and over motorway junctions across England. They will contribute towards a connected, comfortable, attractive and high quality cycling network, suitable and safe for use by people of all ages and abilities. We want to provide safe, accessible and integrated cycling facilities that give people a genuine choice about whether to travel in their car to get on a bike instead.”
More details on Highways England’s Cycling Strategy are available here.