The business case for a shorter Trans-Pennine tunnel will be taken to the transport secretary in the summer next year.
Speaking at the CECA conference in London, Highways England network planning director Jeremy Bloom said that the new plans were currently being drawn up in preparation to submit the new case next year.
Bloom said Highways England was now looking at a 9km long tunnel which would still run under and through the Peak District, and have strategic benefits for connecting Sheffield to Manchester.
The plans were changed from a 16km to 32km long tunnel as the high cost of building the infrastructure outweighed its economic case.
“We looked at a tunnel of between 16km to 32km tunnel lengths, and there was a strategic case, but because of the cost of the infrastructure it was very difficult to make a strong economic case in the wider sense,” he said.
The plan, worked up by Transport for the North (TfN) with Highways England and the Department for Transport (DfT), is combined with major upgrades to the Woodhead Pass route and new road links east of Sheffield.