Rotherham Council leaders welcome new report into Trans-Pennine Tunnel - which could open up the north

Published Friday, 9th December 2016
Traffic on a Rotherham road
Traffic on a Rotherham road

Rotherham Council has welcomed a new Trans-Pennine Tunnel study report.

The report says the road “would bring economic benefits to the entire north of England”,  “improved journey times of up to 30 mins” and “increased reliability and resilience for road users”. 

The Stage 3 report published this month sets out the feasibility of the project, and says the new dual carriageway in a 20 mile tunnel beneath the Pennines could open within 20 years.

These are the findings of a study by the Department for Transport, the Highways Agency and Transport for the North, a body that includes councils, regional combined authorities and business groups.

The report states: “The geology of the Pennines and modern tunnelling techniques mean that the construction of a new road tunnel, would be feasible.”

The new road, between 24 and 25 miles long, would link Sheffield and Manchester. Between 12 and 20 miles would go through the tunnel, making it the longest tunnel in the UK.

The dual carriageway would have a speed limit of 60mph, and would be expected to be used by 35,000 motorists a day, including domestic vehicles and freight traffic.

Journey times between Manchester and Sheffield would be cut by 30 minutes, with the Council believing similar savings would be made for those travelling between Manchester and Rotherham. 

As well as creating jobs during the construction phase, the study says the road would bring economic benefits to the entire north of England, including the five major economic areas of Greater Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and the North East.

The report states: “The delivery of such a bold concept would have a transformational impact on both travel in the north and across the UK..”

But failing to build the road would hurt the economy, not just in the north but across the country, the study said.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said: “Although more works needs to be done on the feasibility of such a scheme, this report shows the potential benefits it could bring to businesses and residents living and working in the borough.”

The Department for Transport said it “will conduct further analysis” of the options set out in the report “to assess more fully the potential benefits and impacts”.

Read the reportimage