A possible extension of the M65 motorway across the Pennines into Yorkshire could bring significant advantages for economic regeneration but is not likely to happen until at least 2030, according to an MP.
Strategic body Transport for the North (TfN) has confirmed that it is working on an appraisal of possible dual carriageway routes between the Lancashire town of Colne, where the M65 currently ends, and the A1(M) in Yorkshire.
Extending the motorway, which currently runs from Preston, Blackburn, Burnley and Colne in Lancashire has been described as a “game-changer” for the county by Northern Powerhouse Minister and local MP Jake Berry but was dismissed as “unfeasible” by a council leader.
It comes after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced in February that a feasibility study will be carried out into the potential re-opening of the Skipton-Colne railway line.
Responding to the development, Keighley MP John Grogan said: “Heading eastbound on the M65 in Colne towards junction 14 gives a somewhat bizarre sight of a motorway seemingly terminating at a car park.
“For 40 years there has been talk of extending the motorway into Yorkshire to create another cross-Pennine motorway route.
“I think there could be significant advantages in terms of economic regeneration although there would also be environmental concerns to take into account.
“Depending on the results of the current feasibility study I am advised that the Skipton Colne railway link could be built in the period 2020-2025.”
He added: “For an extension of the M65 I think you are talking beyond 2030 as the idea is at a very early stage.
“One difference is that the old line of the railway track has largely been kept clear.
“On the other hand the reserved line at Colne for a road extension was sold long ago for private development and a large factory outlet now stands in the way of the motorway.”