Manchester and Highways England link-up for city-region roads strategy

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Highways England have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two parties developing shared strategies for motorways and key local roads across the city region.

The new partnership aims to support economic growth in the region over the next 20 years.

Graham Dalton, chief executive of Highways England, said: “Greater Manchester is one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country so it’s vital that we work together to ensure it has a world-class road network to support the economy.”

He added that more than £200m is already being invested on creating a smart motorway on a section on the M60 and M62, which needs to be complemented by improvements on local roads.

Jon Lamonte, chief executive of TfGM, said the partnership will allow the region to fulfil its economic potential and is key “piece of the jigsaw” to making travel across Greater Manchester easier.

“Having a clear, strategic approach to the management of highways across a city region as large and complex as Greater Manchester – and making sure it works in tandem with tram, train and bus services – is absolutely essential to keep it growing and moving,” he added.

Chancellor George Osborne last week announced Manchester would lead the way for UK cities looking to embrace the government’s proposed Cities Devolution Bill.

Greater Manchester is set to elect its own mayor by 2017, and take on responsibilities for local transport, housing and skills, such as the current model in London.

“This law will pave the way for Greater Manchester – and, importantly, other cities as well, to take greater control and responsibility over all the key things that make a city work, from transport and housing to skills, and key public services like health and social care,” Osborne said.

However, the FTA warned that there needed to be one set of rules governing freight for all cities to avoid confusion for operators.