High Peak bypass delayed as transport budget slashed

4NW, the regional council leaders forum, has recommended delaying the A57/A628 Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle bypass until after 2015.

The move would bring the transport spending in the region under the Government's limit. The programme is currently running 30% over budget and Government rules only allow for 20% over-runs. The bypass delay would bring the costs to 18% over budget.

The 10-year budget was set at £1.245bn in 2006 but has risen by £450m on today's prices. The affected bypass has itself risen in cost from £112m in 2006 to £270m in 2009.

The final decision on the bypass rests with the Department for Transport but transport recommendations by 4NW, formerly the North West Regional Assembly, and its regional strategy partner, the North West Development Agency, are normally rubber-stamped as part of the Regional Funding Allocation.

The A57/A628 bypass, mooted decades ago and on the Government's road programme since 1989, would ease congestion in the villages along the route linking the Greater Manchester conurbation with Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, a review of transport policies in Greater Manchester, following the TIF referendum decision and the Government offer of £165m (50%) to contribute towards the A555 Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road, is expected to be published by the end of April 2009.

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