Road plans will bring 'new jobs and homes'
TWO road-improvement schemes worth more than £6m have been given the go-ahead and will help support thousands of jobs and new homes in Exeter.
The work at Splatford Split costing £5.5m aims to reduce congestion by creating an additional lane for traffic merging with the A38 from the A380.
The Government says the scheme, due to start in 2014 and be completed the following year, will help support growth by "unlocking significant pieces of land" and attracting new businesses to the area.
It has the potential to support 10,000 new jobs and 1,900 new homes by 2020 according to Whitehall. It comes following a bid for funding by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
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Work costing £900,000 will also be carried out on the slip road at junction 30 of the M5. This will involve widening the southbound exit slip road and improving traffic signals.
It will help support planned developments such as Cranbrook, Newcourt and Sowton Industrial Estate.
It is forecast the work, also starting in 2014, will help generate 12,735 jobs and 5,480 homes by the end of the decade.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "This is yet another endorsement of infrastructure improvements for our county which are vital for our local economy. These schemes will tackle congestion and keep Devon moving, which I'm sure will be welcomed by all businesses in Devon.
"We have worked closely with the Highways Agency in designing the improvements at Junction 30, and I'm encouraged to see that so many key locations are being targeted with this funding. Not only will it improve transport links, but it will also improve safety and unlock the potential for further investment in our county."
The schemes are among 57 road improvements given the green-light by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin aimed at boosting the economy, tackling congestion and improving safety.
The £170m investment is part of a £217m programme to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on the nation's motorways and major A roads. The economic benefit has been put at around £3bn.
The announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the Government's pinch point fund to 65. A third stage of projects will be announced next year.
The Secretary of State said: "These £217m road improvements prove the Government's determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.
"Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity. By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy. They also have the potential to help deliver more than 300,000 new jobs and 150,000 new homes."
The improvement schemes form part of the Government's growth initiative outlined in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in November 2011.