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Department for Transport unveils options for £6bn TransPennine tunnel and A1 upgrades

The government has published route options for future roads projects worth billions of pounds.

The Department for Transport has outlined potential routes for its planned £6bn TransPennine tunnel and upgrades for the A1 between Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

A study setting out the case for new options linking Oxford and Cambridge was also published as part of the wave of reports released by the government today.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association welcomed the reports but called on the government to engage with its supply chain as early as possible to ensure successful delivery.

Five routes have been shortlisted for the proposed £6bn TransPennine tunnel linking Manchester to Sheffield (pictured).

The tunnel will run under the Pennines and shorten journey times between both cities by 30 minutes.

Three routes have been shortlisted for the new Oxford to Cambridge Expressway that will improve capacity and connectivity between both university cities.

Options were also put forward to increase capacity on the A1, including a new motorway between Baldock and Huntigdon and upgrading the east-to-west connectivity around the route.

CECA said it was important contractors were brought on board as early as possible if the projects were to be delivered efficiently.

Head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “CECA believes that in order to build these new routes on time and on budget, the DfT and its delivery partners must engage with their potential supply chains early in the development process and we are keen to offer any assistance needed.”

The reports represent three of six route studies being carried out by the DfT looking into future roads projects that could feature in Highways England’s next Roads Investment Strategy.

The other three studies will look into options for the M25 south-west quadrant, the Manchester north-west quadrant and road projects north of the Pennines.

The strategic and economic cases for each option will now be assessed and cost estimates for each option will be revealed later this year, with a final decision being made as part of Highways England’s RIS 2 delivery programme.

Transport minister John Hayes said: “I want people across the East of England to benefit from quicker, more reliable journeys.

“Our cities and towns are the lifeblood of our economy and they, as well as our rural communities, need strong connections to thrive.

“We are already spending £15bn on the biggest upgrade to the road network for generations.

“This next phase is aimed at creating more vital links, creating jobs and opportunities and helping hardworking families across the country feel the benefits of our investment.”

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