News

RIS revs up as road upgrade studies rolled out

M60 traffic jam

Highways England moves ahead with how to resolve two of the north’s biggest road challenges and upgrade the A1 from the M25 to Peterborough.

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup have picked up two transport studies in the north worth over £1.5M to address some of the biggest road challenges in the North of England.

They have been appointed to investigate the options to improve east-west links between the M6 in Cumbria and the A1(M) in the  North East; and major transport improvements to alleviate congestion on the M60 and M62 between Trafford and Bury – one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the country.

“A new dual carriageway, providing a direct link between Cumbria and the North East, would mean businesses would no longer have to rely solely on the M62 to travel quickly between the two regions" - Nigel Edwards, Highways England

 The strategic studies, which are part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy, have been commissioned by the Department for Transport and Transport for the North.

 The two commissions follow announcement that a Mouchel and Hyder JV is to assess the viability of a trans-Pennine tunnel and are part of plans for the Northern Powerhouse.

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has been awarded a £500,000 contract, will lead a joint venture of companies, including Halcrow, TRL and Steer Davies Gleave. They will examine the case for turning the A66 or A69, or both roads, into dual carriageways as well as making other improvements along their length.

 Arup’s contract worth just over £1M is to consider how the transport network to the northwest of Manchester could be improved, including the M60 from junctions 8 to 18 and the M62 from junctions 9 to 12. The study will examine both road and public transport improvements.

 “These two studies could lead to major benefits across the North and I’m pleased we’ve now reached the stage where we can appoint specialist companies to start this process,” said divisional director of strategic planning at Highways England Nigel Edwards.

 “A new dual carriageway, providing a direct link between Cumbria and the North East, would mean businesses would no longer have to rely solely on the M62 to travel quickly between the two regions.

“We’re already creating a smart motorway on the busiest stretch of the M60 in Greater Manchester, but the new strategic study will look at what else can be done to alleviate congestion in this part of the region.”

Dr Jon Lamonte, Lead Officer for Transport for the North, said the road upgrades would by key to the region’s development.

“Tackling congestion hotspots across the highways network which links the North is a vital element of TfN’s long-term strategic programme and will deliver significant, transformational benefits for commuters, travellers and businesses,” he said.

“As such, this announcement marks another important step forward in delivering our vision of a North which acts as a magnet for inward investment and capitalises on the combined strengths of its towns and cities, as we work towards the publication of an updated Northern Transport Strategy to be presented to the Chancellor by the 2016 Budget.”

All the Northern studies are due to be completed by the end of 2016.

"This announcement marks another important step forward in delivering our vision of a North" Jon Lamonte, Transport for the North 

Arup has also been awarded a £600,000 study to explore options for improving the A1 in the East of England from its junction with the M25 to Peterborough. In particular, it will look at the case for improving the non-motorway section linking the two parts of the A1(M) to motorway standard.

Arup will review existing evidence and prepare a case to consider further investment on the A1. The study will look at bringing consistency to the southern section of the route and whether improvements, including changing the alignment of the road, could reduce the environmental impact of the existing route and benefit local communities.

“This study could lead to major benefits across the East and I’m pleased we’ve now reached the stage where we can appoint a specialist company to assess the feasibility and start the process,” said divisional director of strategic planning at Highways England Nigel Edwards.

“The A1 is one of our oldest trunk roads, and also one of the least consistent. This study will examine what could be done to improve the road to motorway standard and bring consistency to the southern section of the route.”

The study is due to be completed by the end of 2016.