Planned toll motorway scrapped

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The Independent Online

The Government today scrapped plans for a £3.5 billion motorway toll road through one of the most congested areas of Britain.

The 50-mile M6 Expressway from north of Birmingham to south of Manchester would have been too expensive and require too much land, said Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman. Instead, the M6 will be widened by one lane in each direction.

The expressway would have run broadly parallel with the M6 between junction 11A north of Birmingham to junction 19 in Cheshire.

The Highways Agency has carried out a detailed review of the option of building the expressway.

It was decided that the expressway would be more difficult to construct than initially believed and could not be built more quickly than the widening, which could be done by 2017.

The expressway would require 50 per cent more land than the widening option and would cost 15% more. Also its construction would introduce significant disruption to the existing M6.

Mr Ladyman said today: "Having considered all the options, I am clear that the right way forward is for the Highways Agency to focus on delivering one extra lane in each direction on the M6. We have carried out detailed analysis and the extra works and land required and the costs involved do not support further work on the expressway.

"I am clear that the widening would need to be accompanied by demand management measures to ensure that the benefits of the additional capacity are locked in, and not lost through increased traffic levels. I have therefore asked the Highways Agency to press ahead with the preparation of detailed proposals.

"It is absolutely right that we investigate the options thoroughly when considering investment on this scale. The decision will be welcomed by many local residents and environmental campaigners who prefer the widening option."

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