MAIN ROADS across south Hampshire could be targeted in a £1.2 billion upgrade campaign.

Transport chiefs in the region are pushing for a share of a huge pot of cash to boost transport across Southampton and Hampshire.

It will see main routes across the region revamped in a huge boost for the local economy.

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Hampshire and Southampton councils are putting together a bid for a share of the £1.22bn Transforming Cities Fund from the Department for Transport (DfT).

While the exact routes earmarked for investment have not been revealed previously a number of roads including the A33-A335 Eastleigh and Chandler's Ford to Southampton, the A33 Waterside and Totton to Southampton; and the A334-A3024 Hedge End to Southampton have all been identified as needing major work.

If their bid is successful they way people get in and around Southampton could be transformed.

Southampton City Council, who will submit a joint bid with Hampshire County Council (HCC)  in November, said further details of improvements will be released later this year.

The news comes as the authority has  announced that £11m as well as  £5.7m from the first round of  Transforming Cities Fund, have already been invested into new cycle lanes across the city.

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These include the new route  linking Totton to Southampton city centre, which according to the council has seen a 20% increase in the average number of daily users compared to last year and almost 1,000 people cycling over it in July 2019.

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, pictured below, cabinet member for transport and place at the city council, said: "The transport team are doing a great job of making the case for investment in Southampton on the national stage to make this happen at pace and we’re already hearing positive reports from people cycling on these new and improved routes."

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As reported, Hampshire and Southampton councils are to use the first round of the Transforming Cities Fund to deliver a new cycle lane linking Chandler's Ford with Chilworth.

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member of economy, transport and environment at the county council said: "By working closely with our partners at Southampton City Council we have been able to successfully bid for Government funding to improve cycling, walking and public transport routes, encouraging more people, where possible, to leave their cars at home. "

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The county will also submit a joint bid  with Portsmouth City Council seeking a share of the £1.22bn fund to work on a  transit network linking Portsmouth to Fareham, Havant and Waterlooville.

A spokesperson for DfT said: "Our Transforming Cities Fund is already improving journeys up and down the country, and Southampton is one of 12 shortlisted cities to now have the opportunity to bid for a share of £1.22bn.We will assess all bids on how they improve access to jobs, reduce congestion and improve air quality.”

A final decision on the funding is expected to be made by next spring. It is not yet known how much money Southampton could receive.