It has been noted that there are no proposals by either the Highways Agency or the local authority to implement interim measures to alleviate congestion prior to the bypass being completed. Concern has been raised that the scheme will not improve safety on the Woodhead Pass where the majority of serious accidents occur..
To the east of this area the route continues to a roundabout which provides for a link road down to the A57 Mottram Moor. To the east of the roundabout, the Preferred Route would proceed north-east through the Swallows Wood nature reserve, then curve south-east to join the existing A628 east of Tintwistle near Townhead Farm.
Another proposed local authority road, the 'Glossop Spur' would link to the A57 at Woolley Bridge.
The Department for Transport has published a map of the immediate area and another showing routes across the peaks and the location of Flouch, which is scheduled to have associated traffic works. An independently produced overlay for Google maps is also available. The route is also available on OpenStreetMap mapping.
In July 1998 the incumbent Labour government published the results of its own review in the “A New Deal for Trunk Roads” document and included the bypass as a scheme to be progressed through the preparatory stages. In November 2002, the Highways Agency submitted a report to the Regional Planning bodies (North West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside). In this submission, they formed the conclusion that there were no realistic alternatives to a bypass of the villages to solve the problems that existed. In April 2003 the bypass entered the Targeted Programme of Improvements, recognising the likelihood of increased traffic along the route and including proposals to discourage road users from switching from other cross-Pennine routes.
The Highways Agency appointed Mowlem PLC under their Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) initiative, in order to take the scheme forward. The ECI allows for detailed planning work to be carried out while the scheme is taken through the statutory procedures.
On 31 January 2006, the Secretary of State for Transport published formal proposals in the form of Draft Orders to construct the bypass, make good the older roads, and introduce 'route restraint measures'. The public and other interested organisations were allowed a period of 13 weeks until 5 May 2006 to express their opinions on the proposals.
In May 2006 the Highways Agency released information under the Freedom of Information Act of all properties they had purchased over the past 30 years in connection with the scheme and an updated copy was also released in August 2008
By the end of the consultation period 1,400 people wrote formal letters of objection to the scheme with 1,000 in favour.. Objections were also received from the Countryside Agency, English Nature, the Peak District National Park, and the National Trust
The North West Regional Assembly had presented advice to Ministers in January 2006 and then in June 2006 provided a revised sequencing of priority schemes.
On the 6th July 2006 the Secretary of State for Transport responded to these revised sequences and confirmed that funding provision could be made for the Longdendale bypass beyond 2010/11.
The change to the proposed timing and costs required a review of the Environmental Statement, which was duly republished with associated Draft Orders on 8 February 2007. There was then a 6 week consultation period, during which the Peak District authority responded.
In March 2007 a government funded report showed that the cost of the scheme had doubled from £90m to £184m
A Pre-Inquiry Meeting (PIM) took place on 1 May 2007. During the pre-inquiry meeting John Watson was questioned about his suitability to preside over such an environmentally sensitive project. He stated that he has written many articles about highway construction. Members of the audience insisted that he provided a list of his publications.
On 4 December 2007 the Highways Agency published as document Route Restraint Measures - Explanation of the Further Change in the Traffic Forecasts and suggested that this data would not be available until Easter 2008.
On 18 December 2007 the inquiry reviewed the new information and was then adjourned while the Highways Agency to correct their traffic modelling. The inspector commented that "it was the fifth iteration of the traffic model since the original announcement in February 2006". A date for the next session has not been fixed..
This alternative approach calls for:
Some opponents of the scheme also advocate 'Translink' as an alternative proposal, which envisages enabling (through the reopening of the Woodhead Tunnel) direct rail links between Glossop and Sheffield and beyond. Translink claims the "Rolling Highway" would be a quick, safe and cost-effective means of carrying freight across the Pennines, a credible alternative to using the A616/A628 road. HGV vehicles would roll on and roll off the low-floor wagons. The Rolling Highway system has proved to be extremely successful in Europe for transportation across Alpine countries.
All other routes show a marked increase in traffic, both immediately and over time:
The stated aim of the bypass is to reduce traffic flow along (at least) the A57 and the reviewed environmental statement of February 2007 provided radically different traffic forecasts to the originals summarised above. In particular, the new forecast indicated that there would be over 26,000 vehicles per day travelling along Back Moor. According to the data presented by the Highways Agency, this amount of traffic is greater than what presently uses the main A57 Hyde Road through Mottram.
In the republished Environmental Statement summary, the Highways Agency admit that the scheme will entail "an estimated increase of 9% in emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
However, in his recent Statement of the Area address on 21 November 2006, the Leader of Tameside Council announced that 4,500 trees had already been planted, increasing to 10,000 to compensate for the loss of trees when the bypass is built and to help mitigate the increases in CO2 emissions. The council leader also claimed that each tree planted would offset 75kg of CO2 per annum. This figure -- for trees to be planted in northern England -- is 3.5 times greater than that for trees planted in tropical rainforests.
The highest sequestration rate measurements for UK forests indicate that around 10 tonnes of CO2 are collected per hectare per year (for well managed forests with an assumption that the carbon stored in the timber from felled forests is never burnt.) DEFRA - ) Therefore, to offset the bypass CO2 pollution at least 1600 hectares of forest would be required (several times the area of the nearby town of Glossop). Therefore, with a planting density of 4200 trees per hectare, offsetting the local increase in CO2 pollution would require a 6.7 million trees to be planted.
In an alternative proposal to the bypass, Translink claim that the removal of HGVs from the A628 onto a cross peak train line would save approximately 100,000 tons of CO2 per year.