HC Deb 29 May 1922 vol 154 cc1689-93
73. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he has any figures as to the cost involved to the ratepayers and taxpayers in the construction of the present new arterial roads; whether he is aware that an official of the Ministry has estimated the cost at £100,000 per mile as against a total capital expenditure of £56,000 per mile in the construction of a railroad; and whether, even allowing for the fact of inefficient and costly unemployed labour, he is satisfied that public money is not being wasted on the construction of these roads?


As the answer is a lengthy one and contains numerous figures, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The answer is as follows:

The arterial road schemes which have recently been put in hand in the metropolitan area are shown in Schedule I below, together with an estimate of the cost of each work. These metropolitan schemes involve a total estimated expenditure of £6,000,485, which will eventually be met approximately as follows:

By the Road Fund 2,946,834
By Special Exchequer Contributions 1,085,930
By Contributions from Local Authorities 1,967,721
It is impossible to give any estimate of the aggregate cost of road schemes, of a character which might be termed arterial, which have been initiated by highway authorities in the provinces. Grants amounting to £3,699,898 have been indicated during the past eighteen months towards important provincial road schemes expedited for the relief of unemployment. The expenditure on the part of local authorities is represented by an approximately equal amount. Many of the schemes, however, are widenings or improvements, or have reference to roads which are not of an

(a)Schemes for the execution of which the Ministry of Transport is directly responsible.
Road. Length in miles. Estimated Cost.
New Construction. Widening.
Eastern Avenue 9.0 357,500
East Ham and Barking By.pass Road 3.0 260,000
Woodford—Ilford Road 1.75 100,000
London—Southend Road 21.0 735,000
London—Tilbury Road, including Rainham and Purfleet By.pass Roads. 3.5 5 427,000
London—Dover Road—
(a) Dartford—Gravesend Section 3.75 125,000
(b) Gravesend—Strood Section .68 4.5 125,000
Watling Street between Dartford and Strood 11.2 525,000
London—Folkestone Road—
(a) Sidcup—Farningham Section—including By.pass Road at Farningham. 1.06 5.0 107,500
(b) Farningham—Wrotham Section— including By.pass Road at Wrotham. 1.78 5.34 99,000
Dartford—Erith Road 1.45 .23 70,000
Dartford By.pass (Millpond Road) Total length 1.15 miles. 34,500
Scheme still under consideration.
Kingsdown—Longfield Total length 4.7 miles. 79,000
Scheme still under consideration.

arterial character. Some of the more important provincial schemes are shown in Schedule II below.

It will be seen from the Schedules referred to that there are necessarily wide variations in the cost per mile of new construction, owing to differences in the dimensions adopted, in the engineering difficulties to be overcome, in the scope of the specification, and in the compensation payable for the acquisition of property. The general average, however, falls very far below the figure of £100,000 per mile quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend, which appears to have been deduced by a newspaper from the estimated figures applicable to an exceptional case. The works in question will be of great public utility and are providing a means of absorbing a considerable amount of unemployed labour. I am satisfied that the public money spent on them is not being wasted.

(b)Schemes for the, execution of which highway authorities are responsible.
Road. Length in miles. Estimated Cost.
New Construction. Widening.
Great West Road 5.0 931,586
Great West Road extension 3.0 146,000
Croydon By.pass Road 2.25 1.5 187,250
Western Avenue Sections in L.C.C. and Middlesex Areas. 2.0 50,000
Sudbury Spur .33 15,000
Eltham By.pass Road—Sections in L.C.C. and Kent areas and including the Kidbrook Park extension. 3.5 253,049
New Cambridge Road—Sections in Middlesex and Herts. 10.37 509,000
New Chertsey Road—Sections in Chiswick U.D. .5 59,000
North Circular Road—Sections in Middlesex and Essex. 6.5 .3 612,000
Shooter's Hill By.pass Road—Sections in L.C.C. and Kent areas. 3.0 168,100
South Circular Road .66 25,000
Local Authority. Road. Length in miles. Estimated Cost.
New Construction. Widening.
Durham County Council Easington—W. Hartlepool 8.21 271,000
Flints County Council Rhyl—Gronant 4.02 36,000
Lancashire County Council Liverpool—Ormskirk 1.21 69,042
Eston Urban District Council Grangetown—Redcar 1.36 27,710
Redcar Urban District Council Redcar—Estor 3 51,557
Dundee Town Council Ring Road (portion) 1.375 58,000
Leeds City Council Ring Road (portions) 2.5 101,591
Liverpool City Allterton Road—Heath Road 2.55 141,750
Heath Road—Woolton Road
Portsmouth County Borough Council. Paulsgrove Road 1 43,000
Sheffield City Council 1.88 73,721
Southport County Borough Council. Liverpool Road to Waterloo Road. 1.25 78,112
East Sussex County Council Brighton—London Road 6 99,271
Lancashire County Council Liverpool—Prescot 3.06 174,426
Glasgow City Council Maryhill Road .72 60,000
Nottingham County Borough council. Hucknall Road (1st Section) 0.45 26,400
Hucknall Road (2nd Section) 1.03 52,000