Road Construction To Benefit From Infrastructure Investment
After what has seemed like an age where government spending was never to return, we have news that Chancellor, George Osborne is now committed to bringing the UK transport network up to date. The government has agreed that we need to improve transport links if we are to remain competitive with our European neighbours. The investment will be under scrutiny, and any wrong moves will reflect badly on the coalition government and there are big decisions to be made that will echo for years to come with future governments. Decisions to go with cheaper initial cost asphalt or longer lasting concrete road surfaces are just one of the critical issues.
Planning for Success
There has been a National Infrastructure Plan drawn up to address the construction in our road and rail network, which marks a number of priority schemes. The next three years will focus primarily on tackling these priorities and there has been as much as £5bn allocated to ensuring the success of these projects. Our new road networks are likely to include new concrete surfaces, which have performed well when tested for noise and skid reduction qualities as well as longevity. There are also plans for large private sector firms with specialist knowledge of road construction to raise funds to build new roads. These private sector enterprises are expected to recoup their costs through installing toll systems, which have worked well in other countries.
With congestion a real problem for businesses in the UK at local and national levels, the planed creation of new roads is welcome. The investment should provide a jobs boost, which is required at a time when there is little investment from foreign industry. Road construction companies are already recruiting apprentices and concrete manufacturers and suppliers are expecting a boom in the industry. Satellite industries such as those that make and service concrete pumps and concrete mixers will also benefit, as will suppliers of construction industry equipment.
Rail Network Updates
The UK rail operators are also expecting to benefit from updated railways as they are now reliant upon an outdated ballast system. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is predicting the number of rail passengers to increase to breaking point as our lines need constant attention. The ballast system in place needs to be re-aligned and repacked continually which means that maintenance costs are high. This also causes disruption to the railways, but concrete bases used in European countries, is considered a suitable solution.
This new investment would also include the infrastructure for a high-speed rail network that is already in operation in Germany and France. This would require a concrete based line, which adds more weight to the argument for dramatic changes. The short-term loss in business while changes are made has always been an issue for the government, but it is now something that cannot be put back any longer.
Long Term Planning for Sustained Transport System
With such dramatic changes to the road and rail network, the important thing for our decision makers is to make sure that any changes made are suitable for long-term improvements. Concrete slab rail networks and concrete roads specifically designed for use by HGVs, are expected to reduce maintenance costs and increase the sustainability of our transport system. Despite lowering the need for maintenance, the increase in construction is expected to benefit associated trades industries.
Demand for concrete pumps, mixers and skilled road construction employees is expected in the next few years and this is expected to be one of the largest growth sectors in the construction industry.