'Chatty van' hits the road for Highways England's first regional roadshow

Highways England has launched its inaugural regional roadshow, with a mobile "chatty van" on a tour of the east of England, allowing people to find out how they will be affected by essential maintenance over the coming year.

'Chatty van' hits the road for Highways England's first regional roadshow

The mobile visitor centre features displays and presentations about roadworks and road safety in the area.

It gives local people the chance to speak to staff who will be coming to their area to explain how they will be affected by maintenance and work delivered through the Roads Investment Strategy.

The mobile centre is set to visit at least 17 different locations by the end of this month (August).

Highways England said the idea to tour the region came after the success of a similar exhibition that engaged with the public about the new A14 Cambridge-to-Huntingdon road earlier this year.

It is an attempt by the government body to "better engage with drivers, so we can hear their comments, allay their concerns and answer any questions", according to Aran Nugent, capital delivery team leader at Highways England.

He told PRWeek: "This mobile exhibition offers us an excellent opportunity to speak to people directly within the communities we will be working in and around; to explain the work we are doing and the benefits it will bring for them, their town and this region."

Nugent added: "Our colleagues on the A14 scheme have successfully deployed a similar 'chatty van' to boost their engagement with local communities, so we are keen to build on this success to see road users in our region better informed of all our roadworks that will affect them.

"We will evaluate the success of the mobile visitor exhibition through our work with stakeholders, the number of visitors, and the feedback we get from those who came along to talk to us."

He described the scale of work planned for the region: "We will be delivering a total of £77m worth of maintenance and improvements across the East of England by March 2018 to improve safety and journeys for drivers."

This is in addition to major improvements being delivered through the Roads Investment Strategy, which will see £3bn invested in the East of England, according to the Highways England official.

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