Queens Drive Flyover Liverpool
Liverpool's £120m pitch to overhaul the Rocket Junction is included

TfN bids for £700m roads funding

Charlie Schouten

Schemes in Cumbria, Wigan, Cheadle, and Liverpool have all been put forward as part of a £700m funding pitch to the Government by Transport for the North.

The North West features strongly in the 16-project list put forward by TfN, with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Council, Cumbria County Council, and Lancashire County Council all included.

Greater Manchester has two schemes bidding for funding; works to the A34 in Cheadle, and east-west routes in Wigan, intended to link Junction 26 of the M6 to Junction 5 of the M61. These east-west links are also aimed at supporting the delivery of 12,000 new homes in the area.

Schemes put forward in Cumbria are the A595 improvement scheme and the Kendal northern access route, while Liverpool’s £120m bid to overhaul the Rocket Junction makes the list; this includes the demolition of the Queens Drive flyover and replacing it with a roundabout and a dual-lane underpass.

Last week, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the existing approach into the city was “hugely negative experience” and the redesigned junction would “cut commuter misery”.

Other roads schemes are already under consideration for funding from the Department for Transport, including Cheshire’s pitch for the dualling of the A500, which will see the main route between Crewe and Junction 16 of the M6 widened and upgrade.

The road is intended to act as a key link between the motorway network and Crewe’s proposed new HS2 hub station and associated development.

All of the project are to be included as part of the national roads fund, running between 2020 and 2025.

Peter Molyneux, major roads director at Transport for the North, said: “Almost all journeys start and finish on local roads and they play a major part in everyone’s life, whether as a pedestrian, cyclist, bus passenger, freight operator, driver or passenger. We all rely on a well-functioning network to access jobs, goods and services so investment in roads is not just about new tarmac – it has much wider benefits for everyday life.

“Years of underinvestment in road networks across the North has resulted in slow journey times and poor reliability. With more than 80% of commuting trips and 87% of freight movements using the road network in the North, our people and businesses are being held back – which is why our leaders are calling for a commitment to road and rail projects as part of a Northern Budget.

“Funding these economically important roads, as part of a collaborative and multi-modal proposal based on clear evidence of need and expected benefits, should be done now. Alongside public transport improvements and investment in decarbonisation, this will enable roads to play a sustainable role in our transport network for the future.

“Investment in our roads will complement the improvements in rail and ticketing to make the North better connected and improve opportunities for all.”

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So it’s official then. Cities do now need to “pitch” to an imposed and democratically unaccountable “TfN” first, to stand any chance of getting government funding.

By Mike

I wonder if Merseyrail will now have to pitch for their massive and unfair subsidy or if that’s a given?

By Mersey Tent

Mike – given that TfN’s 41 strong board has 27 elected councillors/mayors on it I’m not sure that “democratically unaccountable” is a fair criticism. That’s not to say that TfN is without problems – but it is a way for the north to engage with central government on matters of strategic significance like this – as it is clearly the government’s preferred way of doling out randomly determined funding then I think we’re probably best playing the game; we’ll otherwise get diddlysquat.

By the by

People in each area have never been asked for a) consent to absolve their national government of responsibility for provision of infrastructure provision, nor b) to anti-devolve that responsibility to this imposed board, against who they have no recourse for redress, and whose agenda remains come what may.

For example, if this “TfN” gains powers to impose levies and set fares, how can Liverpool’s more numerous rail passengers stop being billed to fund mountain range railway lines between Manchester and Leeds?

A politburo is democratically unaccountable.

If areas in the north were willing to collaborate on an investigation into infrastructure spending, and the civil servants who control the process, with a view to securing impartiality, but all I see is this country embracing the Chinese model of governance.

By Mike

@Mike as it’s been said, the TfN board comprises elected councillors and business representatives, and its constitution has passed through Parliament. When people asked for devolution, this is what they got. Quite frankly I’m stunned that people (you) are now complaining about it.

Your proposed investigation would only tell us something we already know, that the South-East gets more transport infrastructure spending per head than the North. Got any other great ideas?

By Superhans

When I’ve stated in fact that the people were never asked, and yet it happened, that you’re claiming “people” have got what they asked for brings in the double-speak needed to make our Communist-lite set up complete.

Devolution is an elected metropolitan mayor taking control of a metropolitan budget. It’s not arbitrary gifting of powers to a selected elite with the token fig leaf of localism attached via a couple of councillors per area (most elected by single to low double digit numbers of their total electorate).

Tell me, how much spending per head does Manchester get versus Liverpool? Can we look forward to this disparity being addressed as part of “TfN” too?… How I doubt it.

Actually “Hans”, the investigation I’m taking about doesn’t involve another useless report, written by the same old faces, but rather one which takes a more active and adversarial role in getting to the bottom of things, with hired investigators and accountants. Now that would be a “northern enterprise” I would gladly contribute towards.

But there’s no chance that would ever happen, funnily enough.

By Mike

Guessing you’re from Liverpool. You realise Liverpool features heavily in TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan e.g. Northern Powerhouse Rail?

Sorry I don’t like the idea of your study. I’m an Engineer not and Accountant so I actually like to see things built.

By @Mike

Mersey Trent…..we had this line last week, and showed by looking at FACTs the subsidy given to Merseyrail is the third lowest of all the top 20 networks??? Northern get 900% more than Merseyrail. What is your issue with Liverpool / Merseyrail?? All these projects are about roads?

By Billy

When did economists agree that a capital investment with unquestionable economic benefits for a local or regional economy can be redefined as an “unfair subsidy”?

By James Yates

No mention of a new link Road to Liverpool Airport from an easterly direction . Is this an oversight or had Liverpool City Region not seen fit to propose it? No rail link either.

By Eddie23