• LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Youtube

WSP appointed to major transportation study launched into M1 junctions 33 & 34

31 May - Professional services and engineering consultancy WSP has been appointed by Sheffield City Council in partnership with Rotherham Borough Council to lead on a study that will define the business case for a Sheffield City Region ‘Innovation Corridor’. The company will assess the options and develop plans to reduce congestion and improve connectivity between Sheffield and Rotherham to maximise the potential for growth of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID).


The study will seek to reduce pressure on both J33 and J34 of the M1 by exploring options to provide alternatives to the M1 for local traffic, and potentially provide 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 (DfT) through its Large Local Major Scheme Fund, as announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.  The study also is supported by local stakeholders, Highways England and the Sheffield City Region LEP.

The Innovation Corridor, located between Sheffield and Rotherham and based around Junctions 33 and 34, is home to a number of businesses and University centres. It houses the new factories for McLaren and Boeing, the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Factory 2050. It has the potential to play a critical role nationally and internationally as the place for leading manufacturers to come for research, production and industrial collaboration.

In November last year, Sheffield City Council announced a £1.4million programme to improve capacity around the two junctions of the M1. Tom Finnegan-Smith, Head of Highways and Transport at Sheffield City Council said:

“We are pleased to announce this major new review of capacity issues around AMID which will provide an opportunity to deliver transformational infrastructure that will ultimately improve accessibility in and around the area for the benefit of the whole City Region. Tackling capacity problems in the area will enable the economy to achieve its full potential around the Innovation Corridor and throughout the Lower Don Valley between Sheffield and Rotherham.” 

Poor connectivity into and around the AMID has been identified by the Council as a key priority in its aim to attract more companies to move there, enabling people and businesses across the Sheffield City Region to access new opportunities in growing markets. Improved transport links will also help facilitate improved access between rapidly emerging economic growth sites in the area which include almost 4,000 new homes at Waverley and further commercial developments at the Sheffield Airport Business Park.

Commented Mike Holmes, technical director at WSP in Leeds: “We need to facilitate the strategic infrastructure required to support the City Region’s aspirations to create the UK’s largest research-led Advanced Manufacturing cluster which has the potential to be its primary economic driver and a major part of the Northern Powerhouse. Current capacity issues are only set to increase as more businesses and residents locate in the area which already suffers 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.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “This important transport study on two major motorway junctions in Sheffield City Region is excellent news. The Sheffield City Region Innovation Corridor is an important project for our region and for the country and the investment in the study demonstrates recognition by Government that our region needs infrastructure investment to unlock its true economic potential. Connectivity is key to developing a centre of business excellence, and this funding will enable us to continue building a better-connected economy which works for businesses and residents.”

Over the next 18 months WSP will carry out a series of studies 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 (DfT) next year. A detailed design and formal planning process will follow.

Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment Damien Wilson said: “We are very proud to see the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District fast becoming the UK centre of excellence for research, manufacturing and technology. The AMID is ideally situated in the heart of the UK and this funding will allow us to investigate and put a good case forward for an improved infrastructure to support this expanding area, leading to faster journeys and promoting further future growth across the region.”

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries please contact Debbie Bradley at Anita Morris Associates on 01943 603311 / debbie@anitamorrisassociates.co.uk

The SCR Innovation Corridor Outline Business Case is a project in its own right which is not connected to any specific development proposals. AMID already houses many of the UK’s leading manufacturers, including such as McLaren, Boeing, Aloca, Tata, Outokumpu and Forgemasters.  AMID has the growth potential to play a critical role nationally and internationally; the place for leading manufacturers to come for research, technology transfer, and production, networking and industrial collaboration.

The reputation of AMID as a place with world-class R&D facilities, open innovation approach and industry-university collaboration is attracting a growing cluster of high-value manufacturers and skilled engineers; who co-locate with particular intensity in the Sheffield – Rotherham Economic Corridor (SREC), just off junctions 33 and 34 of the M1. At the heart of this corridor is the University of Sheffield’s ‘Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’ (AMRC).

Investment and development in the SREC is becoming constrained by a number of infrastructure barriers. Road congestion, particularly at junctions with the M1 is a major barrier to future expansion in the area.

The AMID nucleus is a 100-acre campus that sits across local authority boundaries just a few miles between the major City Region centres of Sheffield and Rotherham; Sheffield being home to two leading universities. The nucleus is also 2 miles south of the regional out of town shopping centre at Meadowhall and 16 miles south west of the regional airport ‘Doncaster Sheffield Airport’.

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,000 talented people in the UK (including Mouchel Consulting) and 36,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. www.wsp.com/uk