Today Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced that Gallows Corner has been shortlisted as one of five potential improvement schemes in the government’s Major Road Network programme. The programme, which allows councils to bid for improvements to local A-roads, is part of the biggest road investment since the 1970s, and each of the shortlisted schemes will be eligible for up to £50 million of funding.
Our constituency includes Gallows Corner and I have been campaigning since June 2017 to improve the major junction after receiving representations from local residents about congestion and safety.
Gallows Corner comes within Transport for London’s road network and responsibility for its improvement lies with the Mayor of London. Last summer, I lobbied TfL’s Head of Road Transport over Gallows Corner in a meeting I called at City Hall alongside London Assembly Member, Keith Prince. However, TfL advised that no money had been allocated in the forthcoming budget for any major upgrades to the junction and as a devolved body, they were not able to access funds from the government’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy.
I therefore made representations directly to the Transport Secretary on his recent visit to Hornchurch & Upminster to see whether additional central funds could be opened to TfL. Mr Grayling has now accepted Gallows Corner’s eligibility for additional funds, and Transport for London will be able to unlock tens of millions of pounds worth of additional funding if it can make a strong business case for the investment.
It is fantastic that the government has today announced this vital additional investment in our local road network. Shortlisted schemes were judged on their potential to unlock positive benefits to motorists and local communities, and Gallows Corner has long been a nightmare for people living nearby and drivers who pass through every day.
Now that the cash has been opened up to TfL, I call upon Mayor Khan immediately to task his team with putting together a robust business case to unlock the extra funding. The government’s Transport Investment Strategy sets out a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending – meaning investment will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy. Today’s announcement shows that we are delivering on our commitment to invest in infrastructure to attract businesses and fix pinch points – opening up opportunities for local growth, creating smoother journeys, improving safety and reducing air pollution.
Other shortlisted schemes are Cumbria (Grizebeck Bypass), York (A1237), Nottinghamshire (A614/A6097) and Thurrock (A126/A13). Along with Gallows Corner, these improvements will be the first schemes delivered on the programme to tackle bottlenecks and traffic jams on England’s busiest A-roads.
Between 2015 and 2020, the government’s aim is to see £15.2 billion invested in over 100 major schemes; help prevent over 2,500 deaths or serious injuries on the network; benefit up to 250,000 people by reducing the noise impact of England’s motorways and major roads. It is part of the Government’s £23 billion upgrade to the road network in England.