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Study to consider trans-Pennine roads improvements announced

Words: Laura Edgar
M65 / Shutterstock_1306126219

Highways England will lead a £300,000 study to consider major improvements to road links between the M65 in East Lancashire and parts of Yorkshire.

Set to start in April, the study will look at what enhancements could be made to road connections between the end of the M65 at Colne and communities like Skipton in North Yorkshire, and Keighley and Bradford in West Yorkshire.

Beyond the M65, said Highways England, there is currently no consistent strategic route for trans-Pennine traffic. The limited alternative routes suffer from congestion and drivers face poor journey times given the long distances involved. The M65 route between Preston and Leeds is five miles shorter than journeys via the M62 but takes 40 minutes longer.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’ Sullivan said: “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.”

There are many manufacturing businesses across the regions that could benefit from improved roads. Investment could boost economic growth not only in East Lancashire, and West and North Yorkshire, but also across the whole of the North of England, according to Highways England.

The initial strategic assessment will be followed by analysis of potential options that take into consideration difficult terrain, environmental impacts and the role of other modes of transport.

Highways England will work with Transport for the North on the study, and aims to conclude and publish its findings by the end of the autumn. A strategic outline business case will be submitted to ministers to consider if there is a case for future investment.

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