Better major road design championed

Good design is set to become a significant feature of all major road improvement projects in England.

A report from a panel of 13 professional bodies including CIHT was published last week, which calls for a good design guide to be produced and for a design-led approach to feature in a review of the Design Manual for Roads & Bridges.

Highways England’s chief highway engineer Mike Wilson said: “As we continue to successfully deliver the Road Investment Strategy, I share the aspiration that our roads – as well as being safe, efficient and affordable – are also beautiful. This requires a culture shift for Highways England and the wider roads sector. We will now review the recommendations and provide an update in due course.

The vision states that good road design can make highways more understandable to use and fit better within the places through which they pass. It advises that design should be considered at the very earliest stage of a scheme’s development and that projects should aspire to introduce more mitigation. Greater engagement with local communities and landscape professionals early on are urged and innovations are encouraged through hosting design competitions.

Natural England’s senior advisor for transport Clare Warburton said: “Consideration for communities and the natural beauty and character of places and surrounding landscapes are essential if we are to create a lasting, resilient transport legacy that contributes positively to the natural environment.”

The National Trust’s assistant director of operations for the South West, Ian Wilson said: “We are hugely supportive of this emphasis on improving the design and environmental standards of our roads.”