Southern Trans-Pennine improvements

Project information

Trans-Pennine Connectivity, Safety and Resilience Study


National Highways, alongside its partners in the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for the North (TfN), has been looking at ways to improve the Southern Pennines Corridor, which connects Greater Manchester and Sheffield, two major economic and populations centres of the North.

The section of the corridor between the end of the M67 in Mottram and M1 junctions 35a and 36 is impacted by a number of issues. These include challenging topography, congestion, delays, resilience, severe accidents and weather-related incidents. Local communities are also impacted by severance, poor air quality and noise. This has resulted in a legacy of poor connectivity between Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire.

A number of studies have been undertaken over the last five to ten years to improve road connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester, including an investigation of the potential for improvements to the corridor via a tunnelled highway. The studies found that, although the strategic case for a tunnel was strong, the significant delivery costs meant that none of the potential solutions were affordable. In addition to this, the tunnel would not avoid impacts on the Peak District National Park, with a risk of significant environmental harm. Therefore, the studies have concluded that a tunnelled solution should not be progressed.

Moving forward, National Highways is investigating a number of smaller-scale, standalone options in a new study. The Trans-Pennine Connectivity, Safety and Resilience Study aims to alleviate the known issues on the worst performing sections of the route, with a greater focus on safety, resilience and reliability.

This will build on the good understanding of the current performance and local concerns that have been developed through previous work. The study will also consider active travel and public transport improvements in more detail, and give us an opportunity to consider more recent emerging evidence, including how travel patterns and priorities have changed in recent years.

Progress to date

In 2022 we undertook a detailed review of work to date to help shape the approach to, and define the objectives of, the study and the types of options that will be assessed in more detail. Investing time in considering these factors early is key in ensuring the correct focus of the study and its timely success in driving forward new investment in the region.

In the main study phase, we will seek to identify options that could help address the known poorly performing areas of the route. As part of our work in this phase, we will assess these options to determine their suitability and performance against agreed objectives, leading to a recommendation on a package of measures which can be taken forward. The types of options we expect to consider include:

  • Improved access and facilities for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and wheelers
  • Improved access to public transport, including better integration with bus and rail services
  • Improvements to, and integration of, road and rail freight transport
  • Measures to improve road safety and resilience
  • Upgraded technology
  • Environmental enhancements, such as climate adaptations
  • Increase to road capacity on specific sections of the network

Throughout the study process we will look to engage with partners and stakeholders, building on the engagement undertaken for previous studies in the area.

Next Steps

We are aiming to conclude the results of the study by Autumn 2023. Once completed, the recommendations will be considered by the Department for Transport. The scale of this study means that any potential schemes identified will likely be subject to further decisions regarding investment and delivery in RIS3 (2020-2025) and/or future road investment programmes.


Trans-Pennine Connectivity, Safety and Resilience study overview

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We’ll be reducing congestion and improving the flow of traffic for drivers through Westwood roundabout in Tankersley, Sheffield. This will also reduce congestion and improving the reliability of peoples journeys between the Manchester and Sheffield city regions.

Our improvements along the A628 will also help to improve safety for drivers and allow them to make more effective decisions through the use of electronic message signs.

View A61 Westwood roundabout project page

These series of improvements are being carried out as part of a £5m investment in this vital Trans-Pennine route. This work which includes renewing retaining walls, barriers and drainage and resurfacing work will be carried out over this financial year and will create safer and smoother journeys.

View A628 maintenance and improvement programme project page

There is currently poor connectivity between Manchester and Sheffield city regions, suppressing economic activity which will only worsen if significant improvements are not made to the corridor. 

Congestion and community severance are an issue in built-up areas along the route, in particular in Mottram, but also in Hollingworth and Tintwistle as a result of queuing traffic stretching back and blocking junctions. The introduction of a bypass at Mottram will reduce traffic flows through the village, which will help to ease issues of congestion, noise pollution, air pollution and severance. 

View A57 Trans-Pennine upgrade project page


Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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