A new road link between Sheffield and Manchester has been effectively ruled out by officials plotting £15 billion worth of transport improvements in the north.
The new One North report has said while road links between the two cities are slow at the moment, ‘environmental constraints’ mean it is unlikely the Highways Agency would back the building of a new road.
With the Peak District sitting between the two cities, it currently takes more than an hour to cover the 38-mile journey on the A57 and the 42-mile journey on the A628.
The report said multi-billion pound plans for a new HS3 rail line to link up the two cities and other places such as Liverpool and Leeds are needed because road congestion is likely to become worse in future years.
The head of the Highways Agency has suggested just 40mph on motorways may become the ‘new normal’.
Peter Kennan, vice-chair of Sheffield Chamber’s transport forum and partner at Chartered Accountants Hawsons, said the difficulties in improving road links therefore mean HS3 is important.
He said: “There is a great opportunity to join Sheffield and Manchester together to help contribute to this power house in the north. Leeds and Manchester already have the M62, whereas Sheffield and Manchester have the A57, a slow single carriageway which provides poor journey times.”
Chancellor George Osborne says he is backing One North, and the Government will publish more details about HS3 in October.