Five routes shortlisted for ambitious Trans-Pennine tunnel

The government has announced five shortlisted routes for the proposed £6bn Trans-Pennine tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield.

If the ambitious project gets the green light, it will be the most significant road scheme since the construction of the first motorways 50 years ago.

The Trans-Pennine tunnel study was launched by the government last year as one of a number of studies to decide the government’s next phase of road improvements, which are due to be started from 2020.

This week’s interim report confirms the continued clear case for the tunnel which could provide safer, faster and more reliable journeys for motorists and almost half journey times between Sheffield and Manchester.

Commenting on the report, transport minsister John Hayes, said: “Today’s study brings us a step closer to building a Trans-Pennine roads tunnel - the most ambitious project since the construction of the first motorways 50 years ago. We are already spending £15bn on the biggest upgrade to the road network for generations and the 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.”

The five shortlisted routes all join the M60 east of Manchester to the M1 north of Sheffield. Four of the routes start at the M67, which would cut journey times by another 30 minutes. 

While the tunnel is predicted to provide an economic boost to both Manchester and Sheffield, as well as the surrounding area, it is also estimated that the routes will protect the environment through the reduction of traffic volume in the Peak District National Park.

Transport for the North chairman John Cridland said: “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 and investment Strategy to connect the north and transform its economy.”

Following the final stage of the study, due to be completed by the end of the year, the strategic and economic cases for each shortlisted option will be assessed and estimates of cost will be provided to help in making a decision on the preferred route.

Download the updated interim report of the Trans-Pennine tunnel strategic study here.

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