Highways England has said there is a “strong strategic case” to build the TransPennine Tunnel but added that it will take 20 to 25 years to build.
Highways England North-west regional director Alan Shepherd said he hoped the chancellor would give the green light to the project in the Autumn Statement.
He told Construction News that the project could be the world’s longest tunnel and Europe’s largest civil engineering project in the past 30 years.
Five routes were shortlisted for the proposed £6bn tunnel, which will link Manchester to Sheffield, in August this year.
Asked whether the UK had the correct skillset to deliver a major tunnelling project of this scale, Mr Shepherd said HS2’s bidders and procurement were “a good analogy” for how the process would work.
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