Roads roundup

The Highways Agency is consulting on introducing a 60mph speed limit on a new stretch of smart motorway on the M3 to limit levels of air pollution which would be caused by the increased number of vehicles using the stretch between junctions 3 and 4 in Surrey.

The first low level traffic signals designed specifically to improve road safety for cyclists have been installed at Bow roundabout in London following extensive trials carried out by Transport for London and Transport Research Laboratory.Cyclist eye level signals have been commonplace in part of Europe for years but have never been used in the UK before.

An extra £140M is being made available by Department for Transport to help repair roads hit by weather damage. This includes an extra £36.5M for roads most damaged by the floods and storms bring that total to £80M. And there is an extra £103.5M for all councils across England on top of the £900M road maintenance budget. To qualify for the additional funding councils will have to publish information on their websites by the end of August showing where the money has been spent.

The Commons Transport Committee has said that it is not convinced the case has been made to turn the Highways Agency into an arms length government company. In a letter to roads minister Robert Goodwill, committee chair Louise Ellman (pictured) said: “Overall we are not convinced by the case for establishing a government-owned company given that the Highways Agency’s remit is not being extended. The proposed benefits seem achievable through better management of the existing Highways Agency.” A full report is due from the committee in April.

Spectators at this year’s Ryder Cup will arrive at Gleneagles either by bus or train after the Perthshire venue was designated as a car free zone for ticket paying customers in the transport plan for the event. The majority of the 45,000 fans for the event will use three park and ride facitlities.

The Highways Agency has invited the following consultants to bid for its Collaborative Delivery Framework due to be announced in the Autumn. They are: AECOM, Amey, Arup, Atkins, Capita Symonds - Design & Infrastructure/Ramboll, CH2MHill, Hyder Consulting, Jacobs Engineering, Mott MacDonald/Gronmij, Mouchel, Pell Frischmann, Royal HaskoningDHV, RPS Group, URS Infrastructure & Environment (UK), Waterman Transport & Development/Tony Gee/WYG Engineering JV, WSP Civils/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

ADEPT is considering rejecting Department for Transport’s reforms to highways funding saying councils could lose up to 40% of their cash, according to The Transport Network. Plans announced in ‘Gearing up for efficient highway delivery and funding’ in January proposed 10% of each local highways allocation could be dependent on councils demonstrating an “up to date asset management strategy”. A further 10% of the highways block funding could be dependent on authorities adopting highways maintenance efficiency principles. And £200M a year of the cash could be put into a challenge fund that councils compete for to create a competitive bidding process.