Penistone MP calls for improvements to cross Pennine transport links

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Figures show Woodhead Pass frequently closed due to bad weather or accidents. Recent Parliamentary answers to Angela Smith MP from the Department of Transport have highlighted the inadequacies of cross Pennine links.

The answers show that over the last 3 years the main road route between Sheffield and Manchester, the A628 Woodhead Pass, has had to be completely closed on 27 occasions and partly closed 7 times, thanks to a combination of road traffic accidents and bad weather.

These figures show that the link, which represents the most direct route between Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire, is clearly not fit for purpose. This is especially the case when it is remembered that the two areas between them have a population of about 4.5m, not far short of the entire population of the south-west of England (5.3m).  

The previous scheme to improve the A628 by constructing a by-pass at Mottram never materialized and in any case could have had a significant negative impact on the Peak District national park.  

Commenting, Angela said;

These latest figures show the inadequacies of the cross Pennine links between two of the country’s major conurbations. If 4.5m people in the south of the country were only connected by a single carriage road over the back bone of the country and a single inadequate rail line there would be total uproar; improvements would have been demanded long before now with solutions found and delivered.

 

Now that it is clear the government does not intend to re-open the old Woodhead tunnels for transport it is time for us to start arguing for better connections between these two conurbations which at the same time respect the environmental integrity of the national park.

 

The unreliable nature of the A628 link is costing money because of loss of economic activity; on top of that, congestion and slow moving HGV traffic means that it often takes an hour and half to travel between two of the north’s great cities. This situation needs to change.

 

However, it needs to be done in a way that ensures the integrity of the Peak Park is protected. That’s why I’m calling of government to look again at transpennine connectivity; If we can spend £16bn on Cross rail across London surely we should be able to improve vital transport links between two of Britain’s great cities.    

      

 

Notes:

Angela Smith’s question to the Secretary of State and answer

19 Dec 2013:

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13 the A628 between Flouch and Mottram was closed to traffic because of (i) road accidents and (ii) weather conditions. [180521]

Mr Goodwill: In 2011, there were eight closures on the A628 between Flouch and Mottram; four were due to Road Traffic Collisions (RTC's), four due to weather. Of the four RTC's, two resulted in full carriageway closures, two were one direction only.

In 2012, there were 14 closures, eight due to RTC's, six due to weather. Of the eight RTC's, five were full closures, three were one direction only.

In 2013, there were 12 closures, eight due to RTC's, four due to weather. Of the eight RTC's, six were full closures, two were in one direction only.

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