The Government is to address some of the biggest road challenges facing the north of England.
Two studies worth more than £1.5 million will be carried out into the options available to improve the flow of traffic.
One will look at the east-west links between the M6 in Cumbria and the A1(M) in the North East, while the other will assess transport schemes to alleviate congestion on the M60 and M62 between Trafford and Bury - one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the country.
The studies, which are part of the Government's Road Investment Strategy, have been commissioned by the Department for Transport and Transport for the North.
They bring the total number of studies taking place across England to seven, including three in the North as part of the Northern Powerhouse. The third, announced in July, will assess the viability of a trans-Pennine tunnel.
Road minister Andrew Jones says a record £13 billion is being invested in transport infrastructure in the North as part of the Conservatives' long-term economic plan, creating more jobs and opportunities for people across the region.
That investment is helping to create a Northern Powerhouse so "hard-working people up and down the country feel the benefits of economic growth", he adds.
Highways England has appointed international engineering consultancy firms WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup to assess the options for the North.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has been awarded a £500,000 contract, will lead a joint venture of companies that includes Halcrow, TRL and Steer Davies Gleave. They will examine the possibility of turning the A66 or A69, or both roads, into dual carriageways as well as making other improvements.
Arup has been awarded a contract worth just over £1 million to investigate how the transport network to the north-west of Manchester could be improved, including the M60 from junctions 8 to 18 and the M62 from junctions 9 to 12. The study will examine both road and public transport improvements.
Copyright Press Association 2015