Highways England likely to say new trans-Pennine link could preserve Peak District and ease congestion
A new report is likely to back an ambitious plan to build a tunnel under the Pennines to help fight road congestion.
The study, led by Highways England, looks set to say that connecting Manchester to Sheffield by going underground would tackle congestion and boost economic growth.
The Snake Pass and Woodhead Pass roads over the Pennines can be dangerous and are often closed in poor weather conditions, and villages along the route, like Mottram in Longdendale and Hollingworth, suffer huge amounts of congestion.
A route through the hills would improve the east-west flow, a key goal of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – while preserving the Peak park district. The study, led by Highways England, is expected to be complete by October 2016.
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde said: “It is great news that this report will be completed next year with an interim report this year.
“The most pleasing thing is that we are getting some attention for really difficult Trans-Pennine congestion issues we are facing. We have raised this many times in the House of Commons. It has felt in the past like we have been fighting for this as a local issue, but it is actually at the centre of travel patterns and is an important national corridor.
“It affects Greater Manchester to Sheffield, Barnsley and Yorkshire. It is a really bad local problem but it is also a regional and national problem.”
He said residents had difficulties with congestion, accidents and bad weather closures. He said new technology developed and used on projects like CrossRail could be harnessed for the project.
An interim report will be published by December, after the Secretary of State for Transport has looked at the strategic and economic case for the route.
Story: Manchester Evening News