The A627 (M) was built as a 'principal road' motorway linking the towns of Rochdale and Oldham with the Lancashire-Yorkshire Motorway M62, and with each other. As distinct from a 'trunk road' motorway for which the Minister is responsible, a 'principal road' motorway has a Local Authority as the 'highway authority', with the project normally attracting a 75% grant from Central Government. The length between the M62 and Chadderton was, however, considered to be of sufficient importance to warrant a 100% grant, as a 'potential trunk road'.
In the 1960's, Vauxhall Motors decided to build a car factory at Hooton, Ellesmere Port, on the site of a disused airfield. However, the existing road access was totally inadequate. A new road network was required within the immediate area, to serve the development. Not only was it essential for the supply of raw materials, and as a reasonable means of access for employees, but it was required also for the delivery of finished vehicles to markets in all parts of the country and abroad.
Length: 4 / 2.50
The Road Plan for Lancashire 1949 included a number of 'second Group Routes', with one of their junctions defined as connecting large towns to a 'first Group Route'. A 'link' to Blackpool from the proposed North-South Motorway was such a route, with the intention that it should be designed and constructed as a 'motorway'.
The need for a high standard modern road south of the River Mersey between the Merseyside and Manchester Conurbations was foreseen many years ago. Such a road was included in the Chapman Plan for Cheshire published in 1947, and the County Development Plan of 1958 defined a line agreed between the County Council and the Ministry Transport.
The Road Plan for Lancashire 1949 contained proposals for improvements to the road network which included proposed by-passes of Up Holland and Skelmersdale. On confirmation of the choice of Skelmersdale for the site of a New Town, in the early 1960's, the line of Route 215 was drastically revised to form a continuous new route south of the New Town including a junction with the M6 at Orrell with proposals for its extension to the M61.
The M6 is the longest motorway in the UK, extending from Catthorpe (Junction 19 on the M1) to the Scottish border, north of Carlisle. It includes the first section of motorway constructed in the UK, the Preston by-pass, which opened in December 1958. Exactly 50 years later, the final section of the M6, between Carlisle and the Scottish border, was opened.
East of Warrington, the A57 is a County road and passes through the centre of the Borough of Eccles, to the boundary with the City of Salford. The 1949 Road Plan for Lancashire included a proposal for improving the road in the Borough to a dual two-lane standard, but it was recognised that this would require extensive property demolition.
The 1949 Road Plan had proposed an Express Route between Manchester and Preston, to be achieved by improving sections of the A6 and constructing several town and village bypasses. However, by the early 1960's it became evident that there was a strong case for building a motorway, linking the proposed M62 at Worsley with the M6 near Preston.
In the late 1930's, as part of a national plan, it had been envisaged that a new road would be constructed from Liverpool to Hull, linking these ports with the industrial areas of South Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Proposals for a new route along the Calder Valley did not feature in the Road Plan for Lancashire 1949. Several reasons account for this, namely that, i) it was envisaged that, the Liverpool-Leeds Trunk Road A59 along the Ribble Valley, to the north of the Calder Valley, would be improved by the provision of local by-passes of places such as Clitheroe and Whalley, and ii) historically the textile manufacturing towns of North East Lancashire had a close relationship with Manchester, as the commercial centre for the industry and, therefore, improved north-south communications were of greater significance.
Route 9 in the Road Plan for Lancashire 1949 was described as 'tapping the industrial area of East Lancashire north of Manchester'. It was intended to replace the A56 as far as the northern termination of the proposed Bury By-pass, it would follow the existing A56 Trunk Road to Edenfield, and then the A680 corridor to its junction with Route 8 near Whalley. Haslingden would be by-passed. Burnley and Blackburn traffic would connect with the Route at Edenfield and Haslingden respectively.
The A57 Trunk Road from Denton to Mottram-in-Longendale had been seen to be in need of improvement for many years and proposals for its upgrading go back to the inter-War period. In 1965 the Ministry of Transport asked Sir William Halcrow & Partners to report on a route selected by the County Surveyor of Cheshire and this led, in stages, to the development of the design to partial urban and partial rural motorway standards. Its place in the system of motorways around Manchester is that of a radial route in an easterly direction from the Manchester Outer Ring Road, to which it would eventually be connected via the proposed Denton Relief Road. It was the intention that, in due course, the motorway would be extended as an improved route through to Sheffield.
General introduction to the North West Archive summaries
This website is based on the Executive Summary for the North West Region. Further information about the Executive Summary can be seen on the "about Motorway Archive" page. The Executive Summary is itself based on a series of mini-archives, each covering a section of motorway within the Region. They are deposited in the County Record Offices at Chester, Preston, Kendal and Carlisle and contain
The Counties within the Region, as referred to in the Summaries, are the historic geographical Counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.
The individual summaries, describe the various motorways within the Region. Where the work was carried out in distinct sections, these also follow in chronological order.
The description in each case includes:
The amount of space allocated to each motorway does not necessarily reflect the magnitude of the work involved, or its importance in the development of the network.
In most cases, the Tender figure for each Contract can be found in the Opening Brochure, or other documentation deposited in the relevant Records Office. No attempt has been made to identify the total cost of each section of motorway, which would not only include the amount of the final payment to the Contractors, but also ex-Contract items such as the expenditure on land acquisition and compensation, design and supervision, and the diversion of mains and services. Even it all this information was readily available, it would not be appropriate to make cost comparisons, due to the effect of inflation during the period of over 40 years of motorway construction, within the Region.
The construction of the network was carried out by a large number of different firms of Contractors and Sub-Contractors. They are too numerous for all to be mentioned in the Summary, but the Principal Main Contractors are listed in an Appendix. Information on the various Contracts can be found in Opening Brochures, where these are available.