The £32 billion Crossrail 2 railway project in London, the HS3 rail link between Manchester and Leeds and widening major trans-Pennine road arteries in the north have all been given backing in the Chancellor’s eighth budget.
The M62 will be widened to dual four lanes, while further north the A66 and A69 will be upgraded. No timetable has been given for this work yet.
The HS3 project has been allocated £60 million to develop plans for cutting 30 minutes off the rail journey between Leeds and Manchester as well as improving transport connections between other cities in the north. Meanwhile, Crossrail 2 will receive £80 million to continue development work.
Mr Osborne has also agreed to fund further studies into the construction of what could be the world’s longest road tunnel, running 20-30 km under the Pennines between Manchester and Sheffield (the Laerdal Tunnel in Norway is 24.5km).
All the projects have recently received backing from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).
The Chancellor has additionally asked the NIC to recommend an upgrade of infrastructure to better connect Cambridge, Oxford, and Milton Keynes; work that has also been carried out by the Department of Transport, in accordance with its traditional role as the arm of government responsible for planning national transport priorities.
Adam Davis, a Palmers partner who specialises in construction and engineering law, said: “Although a timetable for these major construction and engineering projects is still open-ended, the fact that funding has been approved means that many in the sector will be looking to formulate their tenders in readiness for the bidding process which will follow.
“Our experience in working with the construction and engineering sector means we are ideally placed to provide independent, practical advice to help firms with their JCT contracts and submissions.”
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