Government publishes options for £1bn tunnel to Yorkshire

Five routes have been shortlisted for the Trans-Pennine road tunnel proposed to link the M60 east of Manchester with the M1 north of Sheffield, with the potential to halve journey times.

A 121-page report published by government today presents the findings of a six-month study into the civil engineering project, assessing issues including public acceptance of the different routes, difficulty of excavation and impact on the environment. This report will be followed by another later this year looking at economic benefits of each route.

The report’s authors point out that funding has not been examined in great detail and the likely sources and models for financing the project are not yet clear. The expected cost for each route is described as “well in excess of £1bn” and the cost risk as “high” due to lack of detailed plans. The tunneling work is expected to take at least 10 years to complete.

There were initially 36 routes examined, narrowed down to 12 and then to the five shortlisted that were deemed to be most easily deliverable with minimum adverse impact.

Highways England said 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 today: “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.”

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.

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It will never happen

By Goat

It’s not 1st April is it?

By Anonymous

This would be an amazing, transformative scheme for the entire North of England

By zebith

Put a railway line in it and call it HS3 make it come out in Leeds – now you’re talking

By Anonymous

This is the proof of the pudding as to whether the Northern Powerhouse investment is all talk or actually true.

It would be built if it was in the south so it should be built here.

It would be superb for the economy, connectivity, winter safety and particularly the preservation of the peaks.

By T

Ten years!? What are they using, two big lads and a wheelbarrow?

By Tony Heyes

Dear Goat, “They” said the channel tunnel would never happen and “they” were proven wrong – it only needs the political will to get these things happening hence Crossrail happened, but extra airport capacity in the south east is struggling to make progress. Don’t let us talk this project down when the benefits to the north will be highly visible immediately and huge in the long term. The Humber Bridge, the bridge to nowhere as it was known, now carries, I believe, over 17,000 vehicles a day. Whilst the economics may still not be making geat sense that is an awful lot of saved mileage for all those vehicles with the associated time and pollution saving. Taking the constant flow of vehicles between the east and west of the Peak District away and sending them via a much more direct and efficient route will be something huge in itself, in terms of connecting up the north and all the benefits that will flow from that will be something that can be measured for generations.

By Arbuthnot

Not in our lifetime, as our London-centric govt. not really bothered..If in a more federal state would have happened years ago and could have been paid with oil money they wasted…

By Schwyz

It SHOULD happen and it can.. agree that we should talk these things up not down.. one of the key steps necessary to connect the north, the country needs these infrastructure projects more than ever to counter the economic uncertainty created by Brexit… And a strong north will be an asset to the country and they know it!

By Alfie

Waste of money

By Rob

I am sure that this will be built after Crossrail 106 connects the museum,to how to sew sequins on your Pearly King costume, and the one to plaiting fog in 1950s Islington. I think that our Southern government should rename this,’ The tunnel linking Fantasy island with cloud cuckoo land’ Hopefully they will discover oil in the Peak District and then we won’t be able to move for Mrs May’s cabinet, visiting the colony and saying how the locals can have £9.99 per house, whilst the rest of the money, like Scotland’s oil wealth, is used for yet more London and Southern trainsets, monorails, reducing income tax, for city traders and gloss paint for the White cliffs of Dover.

By Elephant

Re: T, it’s just not true that if it was the south it would happen, maybe London but most people ‘down south’ don’t live in London! there are many underdeveloped places outside London- the northwest actually benefits from very good infrastructure generally, much paid for through EU funding, oops sorry couldn’t resist! Anyway I digress….

By Graham

The Hindhead tunnel got built. Pretty similar situation from what I can see.

By T

Graham, Bounce-Back money is nothing to gloat about…..

By Patt

HS3 should or priority, linking Leeds to Manchester, the two great economies of the North.

By Clive

Graham cannot be serious that places in the South outside London, do not get much more investment than the Rest of Britain, including the North. Non entity town Berkshire, linking Non entity town Essex via London for Crossrail. Crossrail 2 is linking Non entity town, Hertfordshire, with Non entity town Surrey, again via London. Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, with a combined population of nearly 6 million and an economy of about 120 billion pounds a year, has trains which would shame Albania.

By Elephant

About time too…but can we make the connection between Manchester & Sheffield – too far north and it becomes a link between Manchester and Leeds/Wakefield and I thought we already had one of the those…

By archidect

cess pitts at both ends

By Rickyfrommanc