The latest report on what could be Europe’s longest tunnel has been welcomed by infrastructure chief Lord Adonis.
The Trans-Pennine Tunnel Study interim report set out the case for building a new road between Manchester and Sheffield, as well as examining the feasibility of the project, which could include creating a 30km tunnel.
Adonis, who was appointed in October as chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, reiterated the importance of civils projects in the North.
“It is time to make the North a powerhouse again – and we can only do that with a new era of infrastructure investment. The independent National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will help unlock the jobs and growth of the future by considering how we do exactly that,” he said.
“The NIC will assess all the evidence and provide independent advice to government on the future priorities to improve connectivity among the great cities of the North, and this report will form an important part of that review.
“For too long, the British people have had to suffer from the delays, congestion and excessive journey times caused by successive governments failing to plan long term on big infrastructure projects. It’s time for a new approach, building broad consensus behind a long term plan backed up with serious and sustained investment.”
In July the Department for Transport and Transport for the North commissioned Highways England to look at the feasibility of a new highway route to connect Manchester and Sheffield via the Pennines. Highways England then commissioned a Mouchel and Arcadis joint venture to act as consultants. Mace has also been appointed by Highways England as project manager for the work.
The interim report said that the link was likely to include the longest tunnel ever built in Europe, with the current estimate being up to 30km. The road is likely to be a dual carriageway and the team is now looking at a junction strategy. It’s also looking at robotic and automated maintenance solutions for the tunnel.
The final report will be published next year.