National Infrastructure Commission chair Lord Adonis has called on Government to bring forward a radical new plan to start delivering key stages of national rail and road infrastructure while working up details of the long-term infrastructure plan for the region.
In a new report, High Speed North, he recommends kick-starting the HS3 network by developing a two-part plan for the Trans-Pennine route.
This would start with Network Rail, in conjunction with TfN and DfT, preparing plans to upgrade the rail network between Manchester and Leeds by the end of 2017, with a view to raising capacity by 2022.
His accelerated plan for the North also urges Highways England to bring forward urgent improvements to the M62 between Liverpool and Manchester and between Manchester and Leeds.
Lord Adonis argues substantial funding should be brought forward, so that both schemes can be accelerated, with work beginning between Liverpool and Manchester two years early in 2017/2018, and work between Manchester and Leeds also significantly fast-tracked.
Lord Adonis said: “Connectivity between the northern cities should be improved in stages, starting now, not waiting for the 2030s before making transformational changes.
“On rail, this means kick‐starting HS3, integrating it with HS2 and planning for the redevelopment of the North’s gateway stations.
“On roads, significant funding should be brought forwards to boost 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.”
Among his other chief recommendations Lord Adonis urges that route decisions on the northern sections of HS2 to be announced later this year should support enhanced high-speed connections within the North, including between Leeds-Sheffield, Liverpool-Manchester, and Sheffield-Newcastle.
He also calls for a two-speed approach to redeveloping Manchester Piccadilly station. A long-term transformation of the station, should incorporate a shorter-term delivery of extra east-west platforms that would unlock the transport hub and stimulate significant regeneration across 140 acres in central Manchester.