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24Feb94 UK: DOT CHALLENGED OVER £270M RELIEF ROAD - MANCHESTER.

Manchester's passenger transport authority has called on the Department of Transport to scrap its £270 million plans for an M62 relief road in favour of extending the Metrolink system.In a strongly-worded statement the authority slammed the Government's 'lack of coherent transport policy'.It said the Government had failed to consider the positive effects a similar investment in a public transport system could bring.The row has been sparked by the DoT's plans for the M62 which would require the extension of the Metrolink bridge at Besses o' th' Barn, north Manchester.Local councillors on the authority are angry that the work will cause disruption to the Metrolink line and insist that rather than disrupting it, they should be investing in it.The argument comes at a time when the transport authority is pushing hard to attract private sector and European money to a number of Metrolink extensions which are already in the pipeline.Sources suggest it is around £118 million short of the £234 million needed to complete all the work.For its part, the DoT argues that it does not think public transport to be a viable alternative as far as the M62 is concerned.Lines through Oldham/ Rochdale, Salford Quays and Trafford Park already have most of the parliamentary powers needed to allow them to proceed.The authority has also applied to transport secretary John MacGregor for permission to build and operate the extension from Trafford Bar to Manchester Airport. CONSTRUCTION NEWS