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Councils invited to bid for share of £490m road investment fund

Councils can now bid for a share of the £490m put aside by central government to improve the nation’s roads.

Starting yesterday, funding from the National Productivity Investment Fund will be available for a variety of local roads projects to be completed between 2018 and 2020 that are designed to tackle congestion.

The competition will run until 30 June, and councils will be given details about how to bid by the Department for Transport.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “We are investing record amounts on our roads – spending more than £23 billion on providing better journeys for motorists.

“We are also committing a further £1.3bn up to 2020 to cut congestion and provide important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future.

“This money will allow councils to go even further to improve their roads and will be targeted at areas which need it most, providing a significant boost to the UK’s economy.”

The first tranche of money is already going towards projects including improving roads in Blackpool and making better access to the M65 near Blackburn.

The government’s action comes in light of a number of recent warnings about the terrible state of Britain’s local road network.

In its annual ALARM survey, the Asphalt Industry Alliance reported that one in six local roads in the UK may need to be replaced in the next five years.

Similarly, the National Audit Office also demanded that Whitehall take a more realistic approach to its road investment strategy, as it claimed that key projects were at serious risk of cancellation should the government not be more decisive about fixing local roads.

In addition, back in March, the RAC said that there was a “chronic need” of extra funding for roads, as it found that more than 3,000 council-maintained road bridges were not fit for purpose and could not carry the heaviest vehicles travelling around the country.

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