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MP welcomes tunnel study
Thursday 18th August 2016 @ 17:56 by Nigel Skinner
Ashton Hyde News Stalybridge

Trans-Pennine Tunnel routes shortlist

Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has welcomed plans for a Trans-Pennine Tunnel.

He said he was delighted that after ten years of personally pushing for a proper strategic route from Manchester to Sheffield, the government had finally come forward with real routes for consideration.

However, he has urged that the Government must get the route right to relieve pressure on the traffic-blighted villages of Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle.

“I am alarmed to see one of the five routes proposed does not extend from the M67,” he said.

“The villages of Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle are blighted by the worst traffic blackspot in the country and must be part of the solution.

“I am also frustrated that the government appear to be kicking a new Trans-Pennine train route into the long grass.

“This is the missing link of the national rail jigsaw and must be part of the long-term plan. The technology may be challenging but Britain has a proud history of engineering innovation; let’s persevere.”

Five possible routes were unveiled by the Department of Transport today for the Trans-Pennine tunnel which would represent the most ambitious road scheme undertaken in the UK in more than five decades.

The tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield could be a national first and almost halve journey times between the two cities.

Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds has been working for a number of years with High Peak Conservative MP Andrew Bingham to push for a solution to the traffic congestion from Tameside into Glossopdale.

Final work and costings on the tunnel study will be completed by the end of the year.

The Trans-Pennine Tunnel Study was launched by the government in autumn 2015.

Today’s study shows the continued strong case for the tunnel which could provide safer, faster and more reliable journeys for motorists.

All five routes join the M60 east of Manchester to the M1 north of Sheffield, with four options starting at the M67, and will see journeys cut by 30 minutes.

The tunnel could provide an economic boost to the two cities as well as the surrounding area. 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: “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 roadstunnel – it would be the most ambitious project since the construction of the first motorways 50 years ago.

“This 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.”

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.”

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