Major roads in the UK could be turned into tunnels covered with pollution-absorbing material to cut pollution and improve air quality. Highways Agency officials in the UK are studying a Dutch scheme in which cantilevered canopies are constructed over the most polluted sections of road to prevent local residents inhaling noxious car fumes.
Poor air quality reportedly kills as many as 40,000 people a year prematurely in the UK, and levels in many areas regularly breach European legal limits.
The tunnel plans form part of an air improvement strategy to help cut down pollution. According to officials, they are investing millions of pounds in new technology to improve air quality around roads in the next five years. According to the projections of the Department of Transport traffic volumes are expected to increase by 55 per cent between 2010 and 2040.
''The best solution to accommodating the extra traffic on our roads, without negatively impacting on air quality, is cleaner low-emission vehicles. In the meantime we are investing £100m to test new ideas, including less-polluting fuels and road barriers which can absorb harmful emissions,'' The Guardian reported quoting an agency spokesman.
Meanwhile, councils in England have been awarded funding to refurbish bridges, improve junctions and boost flood defences under a multi-million pound government investment announced by transport minister Jesse Norman.
The government has allocated £75 million for 19 projects across the country for essential road maintenance.
The funding announcement comes as Highways England said it had completed seven major schemes valued at over £800 million in the past year and a further 15 are expected to start in 2017-18.
Norman said: ''We are taking the big decisions for Britain's future by investing in the infrastructure the country needs and ensuring motorists have the well maintained roads they expect and deserve, www.fleetnews.co.uk reported.