In Brief

Government reveals details of £15bn 'roads revolution' plans

Investment in Stonehenge tunnel and M25 among plans to improve network – but will they go ahead?

A new tunnel at Stonehenge and improvements to the M25 are part of a £15bn infrastructure plan unveiled today, described by ministers as a "roads revolution".

After announcing the funding last year, the coalition has detailed its plans ahead of George Osborne's Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

Around 1,300 miles of new lanes will be added to the country's networks to ease congestion, including extra lanes for key motorways between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.

In the south east, a tunnel will be built on the A303 at Stonehenge, which connects the M3 to Devon and is notorious for its tailbacks. In the north east, the A1 will be turned into a dual carriageway all the way from London to Ellingham and one-third of the junctions on the M25 will also be improved to "aid frustrated commuters stuck in traffic around the capital".

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described it as the "biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades" and said it will "dramatically" improve the road network.

The announcement comes as the RAC Foundation released estimates that there will be an additional seven million road users in England and Wales within 20 years – taking the total to 43 million.

Around £100m will also be invested in improving cycling provision at 200 key locations across the network, while the Highways Agency will be turned into a government-owned company.

Shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher described David Cameron's record on infrastructure as "all talk and no delivery", with infrastructure output falling "significantly" since May 2010.

"If ministers were as good at upgrading roads as they are at making announcements about upgrading roads, life would be considerably easier for Britain's hard-pressed motorists who have been consistently let down by this government," he said.

Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent, notes that governments have a habit of announcing big plans for the roads, only to shelve them later on when the money gets tight.

"This is a large amount of money and a large number of schemes," he says. "The big question now, from many I've spoken to in the industry, is will they see it through?"

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