Highways England has announced a new feasibility study for major improvements to road links along the trans-Pennine corridor.
The study, which is set to begin next month, will look at upgrades to roads between the end of the M65 at Colne and communities like Skipton in North Yorkshire and Keighley and Bradford in West Yorkshire.
The trans-Pennine corridor currently lacks a consistent strategic road route, meaning the limited number of alternative routes is plagued with traffic. It is hoped that boosting these roads will relieve congestion on the M6 and M60.
Many manufacturing businesses are also located in the area, and could benefit from new road links, which could also open new areas for housing and boost the local economy on a wider scale.
“We are investing more than £13bn to improve transport across the North so people can get around more easily, quickly and safely,” said transport secretary Chris Grayling.
“This study is part of our ongoing work to ensure the routes between Lancashire and Yorkshire are fit for the future – helping link communities better and boosting the economy to supercharge the Northern Powerhouse.”
Highways England chief executive Jim O’ Sullivan added: “This study will look at the issues currently facing road users in the trans-Pennine corridor, the extent to which the lack of strategic connection hinders growth, and options for improving those journeys and boosting economic growth. It will also look at how improvements could be used to support other trans-Pennine routes such as the M62.”
Highways England and Transport for the North aim to publish the study’s findings by the end of the autumn, delivering a strategic outline business case for ministers to consider.
Transport for the North is also at work on a £300M crossing for the Tees Valley to relieve pressure on the A19 Tees Viaduct between Middlesbrough and Billingham.
The ICE has warned the government that it will run out of money for roads upgrades and maintenance within 10 years unless it replaces fuel tax with a longer term method of raising money.
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