HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc449-51
18. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the present estimated cost of the pros posed roadway improvements between Sheffield and Manchester; and what would be the estimated cost of a double three-lane motorway between these two cities.

Mr. Horam

On the Manchester to Sheffield route through Longdendale a bypass for Mottram-Tintwistle is under investigation, and I am announcing today my right hon. Friend's choice of a preferred route for the Stocksbridge bypass. These bypasses, together with selective and limited improvements to the existing A628, are currently estimated to cost about £40 million. There are no proposals for a dual three-lane motorway from Manchester to Sheffield but, if one were built between Hyde, Greater Manchester and the M1 north of Sheffield, it could cost about £100 million.

Mr. Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend realise that the improvements he is suggesting will last for only a few years but that eventually we shall need—so the experts tell me—a dual three-lane road from Sheffield to Manchester to ensure that heavy freight from South Yorkshire to Manchester is carried efficiently?

Mr. Horam

I cannot agree with my hon. Friend. The proposals that we are putting forward today will, on present forecasts, last until the end of the century. I am happy to leave any further decision on this matter to the appropriate Minister at that time.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Is the Minister aware that his reply will be very well received in the area of the Peak Park through which this road is likely to run, and that his views certainly reflect the views of the many people, including the environmentalists, who feel that the invasion of this area would pose a great danger to the Peak Park and that the proposals that he has made will create the minimum intrusion? We are grateful to him.

Mr. Horam

That was a statement rather than a question but I welcome t none the less.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Does my hon. Friend agree that it would be inconsistent to talk at the moment of a new motorway between Sheffield and Manchester when we are considering closing down a major railway line? What is the value of Leitch's recommendations on comparability?

Mr. Horam

We have taken on board the Leitch conclusions on comparability between railways and roads where we can make appropriate studies, and I can assure my hon. Friend that that will not be lost sight of.