DRIVERS could be charged for using the M62, say leaked documents.
The plan includes tolls for the use of specific lanes and limiting lorries to the use of the inside lane.
The plan is being developed by the Northern Way, a group of three development agencies in the region, including Yorkshire Forward.
Motoring organisations say the proposals would cause chaos and `a nightmare situation' if traffic was forced off the motorway by toll charges.
Edmund King, the RAC Foundation's executive director, said: "The motorway is already heavily congested and it is the only real route over the Pennines.
"One of the dangers is that if you only have a toll on the M62 and not in the wider corridor, you will get diversions on to unsuitable roads.
"This will cause chaos and not be good for the environment."
And a parish councillor said the plans would bring traffic misery.
Ken Hulme, who represents the villages of Delph and Denshaw on Saddleworth Parish Council, said: "Any significant increase in road traffic will take us right back to the time before the M62 was built.
"If the M62 is closed for any reason the roads through Denshaw will become one great traffic jam - as does the A62 into Huddersfield."
An AA spokeswoman said: "If you're going to have charging you need to have some benefit, such as an extra lane to ease congestion on what is already an extremely overcrowded route.
"People won't pay to sit in the same queue."
Transport minister Chris Grayling said he sympathised with the motoring groups' comments.
He said: "Introducing a toll on the M62, which is the only major thoroughfare across the Pennines, without creating extra capacity elsewhere is potentially disastrous.
"The ensuing chaos could seriously affect the region's economy."
Northern Way said its proposals were exploratory. But it said it intended to put firm proposals together soon.