Highways England has awarded a £1.3m contract to a Mouchel/Hyder joint venture to explore the viability of a Trans-Pennine Tunnel as identified in the Roads Investment Strategy.
The study will investigate the strategic and economic case for a new high-standard highway route between Manchester and Sheffield, including assessing the potential opportunities of combining with a rail or light rail link. It is anticipated that the new route will include a road tunnel, several miles long, under the Pennines and the Peak District National Park.
Road minister Andrew Jones said: “As part of our long-term economic plan we are investing a record £13bn in transport for the north and northeast. Today’s announcement will look at building stronger links between Manchester and Sheffield, meaning more jobs and opportunities for people across the region.
“It is just one of the steps this government is taking to ensure working people across the country benefit from our investment in better transport.”
Dr Jon Lamonte, lead officer for Transport for the North, said: "We welcome this important milestone and look forward to the commencement of the study which is a key element of both the RIS 1 programme and Transport for the North's longer-term transport strategy as set out in March 2015. We look forward to continued working with Highways England and the Department for Transport to deliver the vision for a Northern Powerhouse."