A DRAFT Strategic Transport Plan for the region would ease misery for motorists if it is implemented.
The Transport for the North document, with proposals for a 30-year period, has been welcomed by Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, who can see benefits for his constituents.
Mr Reynolds said: “I have consistently championed investment in a Trans-Pennine tunnel, and am thrilled that the report from Transport for the North delivers a huge leap forward towards achieving it.
“This is a bold plan which will considerably reduce the congestion that dogs Longdendale, Hyde and Stalybridge.
“It will also boost not just our local economy but economic opportunity across Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and beyond, with shorter journey times making us a better location for businesses and jobs.
“Whilst the scheme now proposed by Transport For The North is shorter than the originally conceived 20-mile tunnel route, the reduced length will mean we can get going with the tunnel much quicker, and will minimise concerns about the environmental impact, so I applaud TfN on a considered conclusion.”
Mr Reynolds was happy the plan recognised the need to tackle another nightmare bottleneck.
He continued: “I am especially delighted that this seems to come with reassurances that the immediate need to reduce traffic through Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle remains on the agenda.
“Last month the Mottram by-pass route was announced, which is progress, but I have always said this must be followed by a full Hollingworth and Tintwistle by-pass so we are not merely moving the problem along.
“I’m really encouraged by the noises on this and will continue to campaign for a full bypass with all my vigour.
“Overall this is super news for my constituency and the whole region. When I first started arguing for a tunnel under Woodhead, some thought I was mad. Now it looks like we’re about to make it a reality, and the benefits could be tremendous.”
Mr Reynolds, MP for High Peak Ruth George and local councillors met at Printers Fold, Hollingworth, for the launch of the draft Strategic Transport Plan that is to be published for public consultation.
It outlines the transport the transport infrastructure needed to transform the region’s economy and called for sustained prioritised investment in the region’s railways and roads over a 30-year period. It will transform the economy by improving the way both people and goods travel around the North of England.
The draft plan will be subject to a 13-week public consultation early in 2018 and will be submitted to the Government in due course for ministerial consideration.
It will identify seven ‘corridors’ where transport improvements are needed to allow businesses to grow and job prospects to be increased. It also highlights two pan-Northern priorities for investment: Northern Powerhouse Rail and Integrated and Smart Travel.
The cost of the 30-year plan is estimated at £2-2.3 billion per year.
Transport for the North was formed to transform transport infrastructure in the North of England to drive economic growth.
The vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.