Plans to build a road tunnel through the Peak District between Sheffield and Manchester are likely to be backed by a key feasibility study, it has been reported.
A study led by Highways England is looking at whether a multibillion-pound Trans-Pennine tunnel would be viable, the BBC has reported.
The tunnel could bore under the A628 Woodhead Pass, in a scheme which would reportedly cost £6bn.
In a Highways England internal newsletter, leaked to the BBC, it claims the study is likely to present a ‘solid, strategic case for the scheme’.
The report is expected to be completed by October 2016.
An interim report is scheduled to be presented to the Government by the end of this year.
A Highways England newsletter has been circulated around groups including local authorities, businesses and tourist groups, detailing the expected outcome of the report.
An extract from the letter, quoted by the BBC, says: “The report is likely to conclude that it is feasible to construct a new strategic crossing of the Pennines involving long sections of tunnel and that it is feasible to operate and maintain the infrastructure.
“The report is also likely to show there would be significant long-term economic benefits.”
The study is yet to consider precise routes, but Highways England is understood to be considering several options, including tunnelling under the Woodhead Pass.