July’s top stories: US approves $11bn road project, driverless cars 'a safety risk'

The US House of Representatives voted for an $11bn plan to pay the federal government's share of road and bridge repair projects through May 2015, while the FBI claimed that driverless cars pose a threat to road safety. Road Traffic Technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from July 2014.


Driverless car

US set to approve $11bn plan for road projects

The US House of Representatives voted 367-55 for an $11bn plan to pay the federal government's share of road and bridge repair projects through May 2015.

The legislation was expected to pass the Senate and eventually reach US President Barack Obama.

Approval of the bill aims to end a debate whether to raise taxes for long-term infrastructure financing.

Driverless cars could pose threat to road safety, says FBI


Driverless carAn FBI report claimed that although driverless cars may help reduce road accidents, they could also pose a threat to public safety.

The report accessed by the Guardian newspaper mentioned that autonomous cars could avoid accidents and collisions caused due to distraction or poor judgment, which are high in manual driving and that they will also facilitate police in chasing suspected vehicles or traffic violators.

However, the vehicles could also encourage road rage through high-speed driverless car races. A more serious danger would be the likelihood of the cars being used as 'lethal weapons'.

Victoria planning minister approves eastern section of East West Link

The eastern section of the $8bn East West Link in Australia was approved by Victoria's planning minister Matthew Guy.

Minister Guy said that the East West Link eastern section will deliver a critical transport connection for Victoria.

"The project will significantly improve traffic flows in Melbourne's inner-north and provide an opportunity for enhanced public transport services," Guy said.

Ashghal begins work on Al Rayyan expressway project in Qatar

AshghalQatar public works authority Ashghal started work on the first two phases of the QAR4.5bn ($1.23bn) Al Rayyan expressway project.

The project is part of Ashghal's Expressway Programme and is expected to improve traffic flow in the region.

Phase I includes the construction of additional interchanges and roads, including a 2.9km stretch from west of Khalid bin Abdullah al-Attiyah roundabout to the east of Bani Hajer roundabout. This phase is set to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

Oman floats tender for $2.6bn Al Batinah Expressway project

The Ministry of Transport and Communications in Oman floated a tender for Package 7 of the $2.6bn Al Batinah Expressway project.

Local and international contracting companies can purchase the tender documents until August 14 and bids will be accepted until 15 September.

Contractors include Strabag Oman, Consolidated Contractors Company, Gharbia Enterprises Establishment, Larsen & Toubro (Oman) and Yuksel Construction.

UK to undertake planning for two Lower Thames Crossing location options

Thames crossingThe UK Government announced its decision to undertake detailed planning for two location options for a new Lower Thames Crossing in London.

The decision followed the UK Department for Transport's response to the public consultation on crossing location options, which generated more than 5,700 responses.

In December 2013, the government announced that it would remove one of three locations in the consultation and work on the remaining alternatives, namely 'option A', which is close to the existing crossing, and 'option C' that connects the A2 and M2 to the M25 through the A13.

UK Highways Agency to begin road resurfacing works in Sussex

The UK Highways Agency announced that it would begin resurfacing work on the A27 in Sussex on 14 July.

The project is part of the UK Government's commitment to invest in road infrastructure, in order to ensure smoother and safer journeys.

Road sections near Patcham, Lancing and Southwick will be resurfaced as part of the project, which will lead to an improved journey quality for all drivers.

Illinois Governor signs $1bn plan for road improvement projects

GovernerIllinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a $1.1bn new state capital construction bill in a move to upgrade the state's infrastructure.

According to US transportation officials, the funding will go towards 'shovel-ready' road projects, which will begin later this year.

The projects will also generate approximately 14,300 jobs in the state.