Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan remains confident that the government owned company will deliver the £15 billion Roads Investment Strategy (RIS) between now and 2020.
In an exclusive interview, he told Highways Magazine: “So far all the work has been delivered on time. Our activity this year has stepped up from last year so we’re pleased about that. Years four and five are the two biggest years in the RIS and we’re currently gearing up to deliver those. They’re bigger than any road programme so I understand there’s some anxiety about them being delivered. But given the performance we put in last year and the current performance I’m quite confident that we can get there.”
The former managing director of Heathrow Airport Holdings revealed that plans for Roads Investment Strategy 2 are continuing to gather pace.
“In the first quarter of next year we will be starting to produce our route strategy. There are 18 of them that cover all of the strategic roads in England. We will be consulting next year with different stakeholders – whether it’s transport authorities such as Transport for the North or Midlands Connect, local communities, or economic nodes such as ports and airports – as to what they expect from the network with a view to settling on the funding through 2018 and 2019.”
Route strategies are one of the key steps of research required for developing the Department for Transport’s RIS2, covering the period from 2020–2025. They will be the foundation for much of the thinking about where major new investments should be after 2020.
Ministers will use route strategies to identify where problems are most severe, and where the need for action is greatest.
Mr O’Sullivan continued: “We’ve been carrying out informal consultation for some time, but formal documents will be produced in March. Route strategies will be published in March with more formal discussions taking place across the summer of next year.”
To read the full exclusive interview with Jim O’Sullivan look out for the December 2016 issue of Highways Magazine.