End to traffic nightmare in sight as Trans-Pennine tunnel moves a step closer
Friday 15th December 2017 @ 14:27 by Tom Greggan
Hyde Longdendale Tameside

The traffic nightmare for residents of Hollingworth and Tintwistle could soon be over after a report published by Transport for North today proposed a trans-Pennine tunnel road.

A proposal by Stalybridge & Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds for a 20 mile tunnel was deemed too expensive, but a tunnel ‘several miles long’ will be built, although exact plans of where the new road will start and end haven’t been revealed. It means the much needed bypass for Hollingworth and Tintwistle is now a step nearer.

Jonathan Reynolds hailed the news to come out of the report. “Two years ago we were asking about a potential tunnel through the Pennines,” he said. “Clearly that was ambitious but sometimes you’ve got to get people’s attention and ask for something big to get what you really want.

Stalybridge & Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds

“Crucially, what the report says is they are going to look at a smaller tunnel at the apex of Woodhead, improving all of Woodhead, but also they’re going to look at the next steps for Hollingworth and Tintwistle. This is crucial because we don’t want it to stop at Mottram, it’s got to cover Hollingworth and Tintwistle as well.”

While the route for the new Mottram bypass was revealed last month, campaigners are determined to ensure Hollingworth and Tintwistle aren’t left out, and they see the new report as the start of that journey.

Cllr Peter Robinson, a Hyde Newton councillor and member of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee said: “This will help us to get the springboard that we need, in my opinion, to get the bypass that we need. We need an all-weather trans-Pennine route. The M62 is at capacity and the Snake Pass has been closed for almost a week. It’s a fundamental need. If we were in the south it would have been done 20 years ago.”

Hyde Newton councillor, Peter Robinson, who is also a member of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee.

In the report’s Strategic Transport Plan, it was highlighted how the M62 is the only dual carriageway link across the Pennines within the North, and is prone to reliability and resilience issues.

It highlighted that a new ‘Central Trans-Pennine Corridor’ would “improve resilience and connectivity between important economic centres across the Pennines.”

Campaigners in Derbyshire also expressed their delight at the report. High Peak MP Ruth George said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news for the people of Tintwistle and Hadfield. It’s something that has been campaigned for for a very long time by my colleague Jonathan Reynolds over at Stalybridge and Hyde.

High Peak MP Ruth George

“Ever since I was elected in June I’ve been saying we need some practical proposals that will help people now; not something that’s for thirty years time. It’s this generation that are suffering; they can’t get their children to school very easily and they can’t get around their own village in Tintwistle. The bypass will make an enormous difference to them and I’ll be pushing for it to happen as soon as possible.”

While the news has been almost universally welcomed, supporters of the bypass were keen to stress the point that it isn’t an end to campaigning. Hyde Longdendale councillor, Chris Buglass, said: “We’re going to carry on campaigning and keep putting pressure on them to agree to a bypass around Hollingworth because that is much needed but I think that these kind of announcements are actually going to make a big difference. It’s not the end because there is still more work to do but we won’t let up in campaigning.”

You can read the report in full at www.transportforthenorth.com/strategic-transport-plan-evidence.