The UK Government has formed a new unit to expedite transport projects as it increases efforts to revive the economy affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The new Acceleration Unit is expected to be in place next month and will work to speed up the delivery of vital rail and road upgrades. A team of specialists will join the Department for Transport (DFT ) to address delays in such transport projects.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As Britain begins to get moving once again after four months of lockdown, no-one should underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead.
“We want to accelerate Britain’s recovery by investing in vital infrastructure that will help get businesses back on their feet, create jobs to replace those that have been lost and level up our country.
“The creation of our new Acceleration Unit and investment in our roads and railways will ensure we build back better, greener and faster in the future.”
Concurrently, the government was announced funding for a series of rail upgrade works in Wales.
The projects that will be funded include design works for the Cardiff Central station upgrade and advancing plans for implementing digital signalling on the 241km Cambrian line from Shrewsbury Sutton Bridge Junction to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli.
The UK Transport Secretary respectively approved £5.8m and £3m for these two projects.
Overall, the government is set to invest £343m in the Welsh railway network to strengthen infrastructure and improve passenger journeys.
Shapps added: “The host of improvements we are delivering across Wales, from huge infrastructure upgrades to creating new and modern stations, are vital to delivering better, quicker and more convenient journeys for passengers within, into and out of Wales.”
He also announced several other investments, which includes £1.1m support for Network Rail to devise short-term plans to reduce overcrowding at London Liverpool Street station and £6.4m to build another footbridge at St Alban’s City station.
Another £4m was allocated to support the designing for gauge enhancement and track improvements for freight trains on Great Western and Midland main lines, as well as at Darlington.