The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has recommended that Highways England should accelerate enhancements to the M62 between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.
In October 2015, the Commission was asked to advise on strategic improvements to transport connectivity in the North.
The Commission has published that analysis today (15 March) through its report entitled ‘High Speed North’.
The central finding is that the North needs immediate and significant investment for action now and a plan for longer term transformation to reduce journey times, increase capacity and improve reliability.
On rail, this means kick-starting HS3, integrating it with HS2 and planning for the redevelopment of the North’s gateway stations.
On roads, investment should be brought forwards for an early boost in capacity on the M62, the North’s most important east-west link, alongside funding to identify and assess proposals for tackling a range of other strategic challenges.
In addition to improvements on the M62, the Commission says that development funding should be provided to accelerate the design of further enhancements to the road network, and better connections to Manchester International Airport should be prioritised.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Andrew Adonis (pictured) said: “If the North is to become a powerhouse it has to be better connected. Leeds and Manchester are just 40 miles apart but there is no quick and easy way to travel between the two. In rush hour it can take more than two hours by car, by train it can be almost an hour.
“So we should kick start HS3 across the Pennines and slash journey times to just 30 minutes. But we must not wait decades for change – journey times should be cut to 40 minutes by 2022.
“A transformed northern rail network should include high speed connections to HS2 and the dramatic redevelopment of Manchester Piccadilly to deliver jobs and investment across the centre of the city.
“By road, major improvements should be brought forward to transform the M62 between Liverpool and Leeds, cutting journey times by up to 20% and increasing capacity by a third, alongside the development of a major strategy to enhance the entire motorway network including access to Britain’s third busiest airport – Manchester Airport.
“A better connected north will be better for jobs, better for families and better for Britain. The work should begin as quickly as possible.”