Local leaders welcome Tunnel Report

Published 18th August 2016 at 11:03am

Local leaders from the business and public sector have welcomed today’s publication of the Transpennine Tunnel Interim Report by Transport for the North.

Martin McKervey, Partner at Nabarro LLP and lead SCR LEP board member for transport, said:

“This is very a positive step forward for the Trans Pennine Tunnel project which will be hugely beneficial for businesses in the Sheffield City Region, boosting our economy and creating jobs.

“Business people and residents know that for our businesses to grow our great city regions must be better connected and improving travel times between Manchester and Sheffield City Region is critical to this.

“Leaders from the public and private sector in Sheffield City Region are working closely with Government and Transport for the North on this project. We believe that there is a very strong strategic case for taking this project forward as quickly as possible as it brings together two major cities as part of national ambitions to strengthen the North and rebalance the UK economy.”

Sheffield City Region’s Transport for the North Partnership Board Member and Leader of Sheffield City Council, Cllr Julie Dore, said: “Better connecting Sheffield and Manchester will help make a step change for our city regions, the north and the UK as a whole.

“We have been advocating for this project for a long time, alongside other crucial connectivity improvements such as 30 minute city centre to city centre rail travel.

“This is another step forward towards delivering these ambitions and we will continue working as part of Transport for the North to make sure they become a reality.”

Five routes have been shortlisted today, 18 August 2016, for the Trans-Pennine tunnel – the most ambitious road scheme undertaken in the UK in more than five decades.

The Trans-Pennine Tunnel Study was launched by the government in autumn 2015, one of a number of studies aimed at addressing some of the biggest challenges facing the road network in the UK. Today’s study shows the continued strong case for the tunnel which could provide safer, faster and more reliable journeys for motorists.

The tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield could be a national first and almost halve journey times between the two cities.

All five routes join the M60 west of Manchester to the M1 north of Sheffield, with four options starting at the M67, and will see journeys cut by 30 minutes.

The tunnel could provide an economic boost to the two cities as well as the surrounding area. The link would help protect the environment by reducing traffic through the Peak District National Park, as well as support the government’s plan to build a Northern Powerhouse.

Transport Minister John Hayes said:

“I want people in the north of England to benefit from quicker, more reliable journeys.

“Today’s study brings us a step closer to building a Trans-Pennine roads tunnel – it would be the most ambitious project since the construction of the first motorways 50 years ago.

“We are already spending £15 billion on the biggest upgrade to the road network for generations.

“This next phase is aimed at creating more vital links, creating jobs and opportunities and helping hardworking families across the country feel the benefits of our investment.”

John Cridland, Chairman of Transport for the North, added:

“The study shows a tunnel beneath the Pennines would both boost the economy of the region, and potentially benefit the environment of the Peak District by reducing traffic in the national park.

“This is just one of the visionary projects Transport for the North is working on, as well as other schemes, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, as we continue to develop a Transport & Investment Strategy to connect the North and transform its economy.”

The study is part of the government’s next phase of road improvements, which will get underway from 2020. The current Road Investment Strategy period covers 2015 to 2020.

In the final stage of the study, due to be completed by the end of 2016, the strategic and economic cases for each option will be assessed and cost estimates will be provided.

Two further reports – the A1 East of England and the Cambridge to Oxford Expressway – are also published today. Studies into the M25 south west quadrant, the Manchester North West Quadrant and the Northern Trans-Pennine are also underway.

Final reports of all six will be completed in the next six months and will inform the development of the government’s second Roads Investment Strategy.

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