Highways England appoints Jacobs to improve transportation in Manchester North-West Quadrant


International consultancy and professional services company, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been awarded a contract by Highways England (HE) to develop possible solutions for improving the transport network around the motorways northwest of Manchester.

HE’s Strategic Road Network (SRN) in this area forms part of a key east-west connection linking the city regions of Liverpool and Manchester across the Pennines to Leeds, Sheffield and on to the North East. The Manchester North-West Quadrant project aims to improve capacity and reliability of east-west road connections, boost the local and regional economy, and help establish the North of England as a global powerhouse.

Over a two-year term, Jacobs and its supply chain partners will identify potential route options for increasing capacity and resilience on this part of the network. The project scope includes engineering, technological, environmental, economic and traffic modeling analysis, together with stakeholder management and design project management.

The Manchester North-West Quadrant Study – Stage 3 Report, commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for the North, and HE, and published in 2016, revealed that the M60 motorway plays a vital part in the life of the Greater Manchester region and is a critical part of the northern transport network. The North-West Quadrant of the M60 between junctions 8 and 18 contains some of the busiest stretches of road outside the M25 London Orbital Motorway. The region’s motorway network has insufficient capacity, and when combined with challenging layouts and topography, results in slow speeds for users, particularly the large volumes of freight transport. The mix of local traffic and strategic traffic, coupled with the design of the road, further exacerbates congestion and environmental problems.

Jacobs is already involved in several major projects across HE’s 4,300 miles (6,920km) road network, including the agency’s National Infrastructure and Regional Investment Programs and its Smart Motorways Program. The consultancy’s highway and traffic experts support HE with a range of services, from transport planning and modeling, intelligent mobility research, connected vehicle and environmental studies, to full project lifecycle road infrastructure management.

“The Manchester North-West Quadrant project is a critical part of the northern transport network and has the potential to impact local, regional, national and international transport movements,” said Donald Morrison, senior VP and general manager for buildings and infrastructure Europe at Jacobs. “As a leading provider of transportation infrastructure solutions, we look forward to delivering practical options that can be taken forward for public consultation.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).