Highways England have today stated there is a strong strategic case for what could potentially be the world’s longest tunnel and Europe’s largest civil engineering project in the past 30 years.
Alan Shepherd, Highways England North-west regional director hopes government will green light the project next month.
Much focus has been put on East/West connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse with the proposed Trans Pennie road improvements and the potential HS3 rail development seen as a much needed solution for the regions economic development.
Highways England has said there is a ‘strong strategic case’ for a TransPennine Tunnel between Sheffield and Manchester - but that it could take up to 25 years to build Alan Shepherd, Highways England North-west regional director, told Construction News that he hoped the chancellor would give the green light to the project in the Autumn Statement (23 November). Speaking at the CN Summit 2016, he said that the project could be the world’s longest tunnel and Europe’s largest civil engineering project in the past 30 years. Five routes were shortlisted for the proposed £6billion tunnel, which will link Manchester to Sheffield, in August this year. Asked whether the UK had the correct skillset to deliver a major tunnelling project of this scale, Shepherd said HS2’s bidders and procurement were ’a good analogy’ for how the process would work.