HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc149-50
18. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is satisfied as to the value of the M.1 motorway, now that it has been in operation for a year; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hay

Yes, Sir. Traffic on this motorway has recently reached an average of over 15,000 vehicles a day. Journeys are speedier, and safer. Laden goods vehicles using the M.1 save 40 to 50 minutes on the round trip and private cars up to 1½ hours, compared with the time previously taken on the A.5 and A.45 route. The accident rate is half that of the best type of all other roads in the country.

At the same time, traffic on the A.5 and A.45 alone has been reduced by 5,000 vehicles a day. Delays on this route have been cut by 20 to 25 minutes, and the number of accidents reduced by 60 per cent. Other routes will also have shared in these benefits.

In terms of economic benefit to the nation, the indications are that the M.1 may well repay the cost of its construction within the next eight years or so.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

In view of the great success of the M.1 and the motorway principle, which some of us have been advocating for this country for about 25 years, will my hon. Friend say whether the Government have plans to press ahead with further motorway developments?

Mr. Hay

Yes, Sir. I can tell my hon. Friend that 120 miles of long-distance motorway have already been built; another 86 miles are under construction; and another 100 miles are expected to be put in hand this year. As my hon. Friend knows, during the next five or six years, we hope substantially to complete the five major projects and to make a start on the extension of the M.1 from Crick to Doncaster. My right hon. Friend is appointing Sir Owen Williams and Partners as consulting engineers to complete the preparation of this latter scheme.