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Route options announced for Trans-­Pennine tunnel

Published: Thursday, 25th August 2016

Department for Transport shortlists five routes for the proposed new Trans­-Pennine tunnel, which it describes as the most ambitious road scheme undertaken in the UK for more than 50 years...

Five routes have been shortlisted for the Government’s proposed new Trans­Pennine tunnel, billed by the Department for Transport (DfT) as the most ambitious road scheme undertaken in the UK for more than 50 years.

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 east of Manchester to the M1 north of Sheffield, with four options starting at the M67. According to the DfT’s feasibility study this initiative could see road journeys cut by 30 minutes.

Ministers have argued that the tunnel could provide an economic boost to the two cities as well as the surrounding area. They have also pointed out that 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 the study “brings us a step closer to building a Trans­Pennine roads tunnel, it would be the most ambitious project since the construction of the first motorways 50 years ago.”

John Cridland, Chairman of Transport for the North, insisted: “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.”

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

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Roger Milne