Improved roads in the Thames Valley

I attended yesterday’s Roads Statement by the Transport Secretary. The major improvements closest to Wokingham are:

M4 Junction 3 to Junction 12   upgrading to a smart motorway

M3  Junctions 2  to 4A upgrading to smart motorway including hard shoulder running

M25 Junctions 10-16 (A3 to M40) upgrading smart motorway and substantial widening of junction 11, providing for four lane running through these junctions

M4 Heathrow slip providing improved access to airport

 

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14 Comments

  1. a-tracy
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Does a smart motorway meaning putting one or two people in charge of what speed everyone does so that on a quiet motorway on a Sunday afternoon you’re all bunched up doing 50 mph with the odd cavalier driver who obviously hasn’t got caught by points yet zooming along past you all in the fast lane, because that’s what it means on the M40. The Highways Agency who control the warning gantries that leave up signs hours after the congestion has passed, 40mph ahead – no nothing at 9pm on a Sunday night. Who do you report this to, no-one we’re just handing our productivity and performance over to faceless people.

  2. John E
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    So no new bridge over the Thames then?

    Reply That will be a local road. There are continuing discussions between the Councils involved, with Wokingham and Reading keen but South Oxfordshire not so. The M4 and M3 are our two national routes locally and they do not need to cross the river.

    • John E
      Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      “There are continuing discussions between the Councils involved, with Wokingham and Reading keen but South Oxfordshire not so.”

      I think that could have been said at any time for more than fifty years.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    There has been huge relative under investment in road for many years. Massive catching up is needed. Caroline Lucas the green MP thinks the presumption should always be against roads why? Why have Cameron and the Tories followed this idiotic green crap line. There is nothing green about endless traffic jams or HS trains needing expensive new tracks?

    Trains, bike and buses are not (all things considered door to door) remotely greener than cars at all (per person mile) and they are usually far more convenient, far more flexible and far quicker or would be if they got the roads sorted. Follow the demand which is for road space, this despite the fiscal/subsidy bias against them.

    Also cars/vans/trucks largely get away from the stranglehold that is the state sector unions.

  4. Richard Jenkins
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    A smart motorway – that’s where a numpty sits in a control room and switches on 50mph limit signs when you could safely do 70mph, and the switches on 40mph limit signs when the traffic is limiting you to half that speed. Anyway, that’s how it is based on the M42

  5. alan jutson
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Aware we need to try and keep traffic flowing, and I understand the reasons for hard shoulder running, and that is to save cost, but I have real concerns about removing the safety feature for which the hard shoulder was originally introduced.

    I guess I can only hope my fears will be cancelled by reliable electronic control, but somehow trying to get a quart into a pint pot seems all wrong , especially when many other roads are being restricted on width with chicanes and other obstacles on the grounds of so called safety.

    However good news that at last we are starting to spend some money on the infrastructure.

  6. stred
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Nearly ten years ago I started to use the M25 to the M23 and A23 frequently. Then the journey took 1hr 20min. Since then they have widened the motorway towards the Thames Crossing, then through Surrey and the missing link on the A23. For 9 years the trip took over an hour and a half. Finally, the works have finished, the toll booths have been removed and, after paying by computer, I am able to do the trip in the 1hr 15min.

    Please, please, please, no more junction improvements, gantries and hard shoulder removal on this bit of the road.

  7. Bob
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Should this article be filed in the “Local Issues” folder?

    Anyway, for what it’s worth I’ve found that that four lane running just leads to poor lane discipline with drivers spreading themselves out and dawlding along at sixty, often with the far left lane being the least used.

    Also, hard shoulders should be maintained for emergency use only, we pay more than enough in road tax and fuel duty to have the best roads in the world.

    Driver education and some light touch policing is sorely lacking.

  8. Mark
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    In my experience, “smart” motorways are a downgrade, with the variable speed limits usually set at an unnecessarily low level. I almost always avoid the M42 to the East side of Birmingham unless going to the NEC. The new section of controlled M6 to the North of Birmingham seems to be about as chaotic and slow moving as when it was roadworks for the installation.

  9. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    All designed to get more and more people squeezed onto the same roads.

    How about stopping the increase in people? Too easy eh?

    Just think – if we hadn’t had HALF A MILLION people come to our country in the last year, our population would have decreased by a third of a million (maybe some who left wouldn’t have – who knows?) and we’d have less traffic on the roads and less people in our cattle truck commuter trains.

    I’ve asked this before, Mr. Redwood, but no reply was given.

    Why were 270,000 people from OUTSIDE THE EU allowed to enter this country in the last year? The immigration we can control – from outside the EU – is not being controlled. Why?

  10. Vanessa
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    This is all “pie in the sky” as we know there is absolutely no money available. HS2 is going to cost 80 BILLION, the NHS is getting 2 BILLION now roads are getting – how much ???? Where did you suddenly find all this money from ?? How much are you borrowing ? We already have to pay over 1 BILLION per week as interest on the deficit or debt. This is total madness and Cameron is good at sound bites but never delivers.

    When I have no more money to pay the bills in my household and my credit card is over its maximum borrowed amount I DO NOT go on borrowing and expect my neighbours to pick up the tab. Get real !

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Another shake of the magic money tree

  12. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, the A83 (Rest and Be Thankful) in Scotland suffers constant mud-slides from the steep sided mountain that it climbs and is closed for long periods. The traffic is either re-routed onto the old 18th century single track road which follows a more sensible path up the centre of the glen at low level or it is diverted via Crianlarich which adds many miles to the journey. The tortuous diversionary route follows Loch Lomond north from Tarbet and is also subject to disruption.
    There are very few trunk roads in Scotland and this artery is an important one for communications on the west coast. At one time most commercial traffic moved by sea.

    Reply All of which is of course a matter for your Scottish government in Edinburgh and outside our debates and budgets in Westminster.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the old pork barrel politics at work.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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