The route for the Manchester to Sheffield tunnel has been narrowed down to five locations before work gets underway after 2020.
The tunnel, which will link Manchester and Sheffield upon completion, will be the largest road project the UK has known in half a century. It will stretch from the M60 east of Manchester to the M1 just north of Sheffield.
Journeys between the two cities will be around half an hour shorter than the existing route once the tunnel has been completed.
All of the options run under the Peak District National Park, which, the Department for Transport says, will benefit from reduced traffic. The DfT also says the road will help develop the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ by linking the two cities directly.
Even once the final location has been decided, work won’t get underway until after 2020. This is when the government’s current Road Investment Strategy ends and the next phase of road improvements begins.
Although the cost implications of the tunnel haven’t yet been calculated – the final stage of the study covers estimated costs - the current raft of road improvements is funded by £15.2 billion of tax-payers’ money. It's not yet known when work will start, or finish, on the project.
The tunnel also shares a road improvement phase with five other large projects but is arguably the most ambitious of its group, which includes the Oxford to Cambridge expressway and M25 southwest quadrant.