Research will seek to cut congestion on junctions 33 and 34 of the M1

WSP has been appointed by Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Borough Council to lead on a study to define the business case for a Sheffield City region ‘Innovation Corridor’.

It will assess the options and develop plans to reduce congestion and improve connectivity between Sheffield and Rotherham to develop the potential for growth of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, which currently houses a number of manufacturers, including McLaren, Boeing, Aloca and Tata.

The study will seek to reduce pressure on both junctions 33 and 34 of the M1 by exploring options to provide alternatives to the M1 for local traffic and possibly providing additional routes between Sheffield and Rotherham without the need for drivers to pass through existing motorway junctions.

WSP will provide a range of specialist services including transport modelling, environmental impact assessment, flood risk and ecology in conducting a feasibility and economic appraisal to create a viable scheme that can be funded by the Department for Transport.

In November last year, Sheffield City Council announced a £1.4m programme to improve capacity around the two junctions of the M1.

Mike Holmes, technical director at WSP in Leeds said current capacity issues were set to increase as more businesses and residents located in the area, one which already suffered from a lack of good public transport links.

“It’s vital that we find deliverable solutions to improve connectivity by road and sustainable transport options, whilst anticipating the future growth of the site,” he added.

WSP will carry out a series of studies during the next 18 months, incorporating regular stakeholder engagement. The final report will be presented to the Sheffield City Region who will submit the outline business case to the Department for Transport next year. A detailed design and formal planning process will follow.