Cameron and Osborne makes landmark visit to Catthorpe - The Rugby Observer

Cameron and Osborne makes landmark visit to Catthorpe

Rugby Editorial 25th Apr, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

THE PRIME Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer visited the Catthorpe Interchange scheme on Tuesday – almost four years to the day after they shelved the costly project.

In their first joint public appearance in several years – a sign of their growing confidence they are winning the argument on the economy – David Cameron and George Osborne were at contractor Skanska’s base on the M1 to claim the government was helping businesses by investing in infrastructure.

Work on the £200m revamp on the notorious junction finally began in January after more than 15 years on the drawing board.

Ironically it was Mr Osborne who put the work on hold back in 2010 amid huge spending cuts after ousting Labour from power only for it to be suddenly revived three years later.

He told The Observer: “As a country, we have not put enough money into our transport.

“I’m a regular user of this junction when I drive to my constituency in the north-west of England.

“Year-on-year you see traffic jams on the roundabouts, and it’s also been an accident blackspot.

“Transforming this junction is great not just for the people who pass through, but also for local people who are affected by the congestion.”

Mr Cameron added: “An important part of our economic plan is building the infrastructure that the country needs.

“Key junctions like this on the M1 are absolutely vital arteries for our economy that needs properly unblocking.

“One of the dangers here is that you have the differential speeds of cars coming off different roads at this interchange, so this will make the junction safer.”

The junction is used by around 142,000 vehicles every day – many more than it was originally designed for – with around 250 people killed or seriously injured around the interchange over the past two decades.

Accidents at the interchange usually happen as a result of queues of traffic which form on the motorway during rush hour when the number of cars trying to leave the M6 or M1 south becomes too high.

The improvement works are designed to make links between the M6 and A14, and the M1 and A14, more free flowing by cutting access from the M6 south to M1 north, and visa versa.

It is predicted to be injecting £37.5m in to the local economy, employing 762 people so far. Work should be completed in Autumn 2016 with improvements also being made to local roads.

George Osborne and David Cameron are talked through the plans before being given a tour of the site (inset). Photos: Crown Copyright

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