A NEW dual carriageway – spanning more than ten miles across Rotherham – is part of long-term plans to stimulate the northern economy.
The road would be an extension to highway proposals linking Manchester with Sheffield, which include a tunnel under part of the Pennines.
And the Rotherham section would cross the north of the borough to link the M1 at junction 35a with the A1 at Doncaster.
Travelling west to east, the road would likely have to pass Thorpe Hesley, Wentworth, Rawmarsh, Swinton, Conisbrough and Mexborough – and cross the proposed HS2 rail line.
Barry White, chief executive of Transport for the North (TfN), gave a presentation to the last Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership meeting about the Trans-Pennine Tunnel, which was initially planned to be 20 miles.
The meeting minutes said: “TfN are about to commission the next stage of design work to further examine the ‘alternative’ options which will involve a shorter tunnel, four to six miles long, together with additional A616/628 upgrades and a new dual carriageway linking the M1 at J35a to the A1.”
An earlier report by TfN said initial forecasts showed a significant amount of traffic traveling south along the M18 and then north along the M1 to access the tunnel.
The Rotherham dual carriageway option would cater for these motorists, it added, and provide improved connections from the tunnel to Doncaster Airport and ports at the Humber.
The report said: “This route would take traffic off the M18 and M1 between Doncaster and the tunnel, along a route up to 15km shorter than the current route via the M1 and M18 and provide a significant benefit to freight traffic.
“This route would also lead to a reduction in the level of traffic on the M1 north of junction 32 (at Thurcroft) and this may avoid the need for a more substantial capacity improvement on the M1.”
An alternative road option further north is also being considered, connecting the M1 in Barnsley with Doncaster.
A TfN spokesman said: “The study has identified that delivering a new strategic link between Manchester and Sheffield, involving a significant length of tunnel, would be achievable.
“The geology of the Pennines and modern tunnelling techniques mean that the construction of a new road tunnel, would be feasible.”
TfN was formed in 2014 through a partnership of the Department for Transport, local transport authorities and local enterprise partnerships to develop a northern strategy.
The development would be paid for by central government but road maintenance could fall on local authorities.
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