THE government study into extending the M65 from East Lancashire to Yorkshire will report early next year.

Highways England has promised Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson that the review of trans-Pennine road links will be completed ‘in the first quarter of 2020’.

The government is also examining the feasibility of re-opening the Colne to Skipton railway line.

Highways England’s executive director Elliot Shaw tells Mr Stephenson: “We recognise the Pennines act as a barrier between the east and west of the North of England restricting trade.

“We are in the formative stages of the study to identify the benefit and feasibility of forming an additional trans-Pennine route in the M65 corridor.

“The work will continue through this autumn and winter and we are hopeful to have our findings completed in the new year.”

Mr Stephenson said: “Fixing the problems with our transport infrastructure is my top priority.

“The long term failure to address this continues to hold Pendle’s economy back.

“In March, after bringing then Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to Pendle twice, I secured a £300,000 Highways England study into how to address the problems we have on our roads where the M65 ends at Colne.

“I am pleased the study is due to report early in the new year.

“This will mark an important step towards agreeing how we solve the congestion caused by the motorway ending where is does.

“I will be pushing for quick progress. Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council are progressing with plans to improve the traffic flow on Vivary Way.”