A57(M) Mancunian Way

Comments Archive (updated May 08)

Susan Hodgkinson starts us off:

I do have to point out that whilst you are, totally bang on right about the A57(M) in Manchester, it does have one, great benefit. Sat in the bowl before the lights leading onto Regent Road, at 5pm, on a Friday, in the rain, you truly, truly feel like you are in the bowels of some kind of beige and stained urban hell. The sheer euphoria of escaping that can give anyone a lift. As such, the A57(M) should be preserved, as it is, a monument to the fact that nothing is as bad as that kind of traffic experience.

Very poetically put!

Rich Tysoe has some strongly held views:

I lived in Manchester for a few years, and have walked under that junction many, many times (this is the UMIST exit, behind the BBC, isn't it..), but never noticed the aborted sliproad. However, you missed the extra ironic twist - which is that the structure actually won an award from "The Concrete Society". There's a plaque on the bridge - it's on the south facing side, eastern side of the bridge. Next time I'm in Manchester I'll get a digital photo of the plaque for you...

It is an evil road. I've only driven on it once, and when I go to Manchester these days I don't take my car north of the University, but I've been driven on it, and tried to give my brother directions to get off the junction so he'd end up on Sackville Street. Not a chance.

Allan Jordan has an amusing thought:

Was looking at PM and came across the A57(M) bit. You can just see the scene, can't you?

"It's the early 1960s and, unusually, the sun in central Manchester is shining. Two construction lackeys are sitting on the edge of the slip road, taking a tea break in the afternoon sun. They sit, sipping tea from a Thermos, eating a cheese sandwich and idly watch the early rush-hour traffic making its way out of Manchester on Princess Street, heading for the urban grind of Upper Brook Street and leafy Anson Road. Then, like the sun rising slowly above the hills around the city, realisation slowly dawns upon one of the workers. Distractedly putting down his cup in the light of this shattering revelation, he turns to his mate, and, hoarsely, barely audible over the traffic noise, whispers "Oh bugger!"....................

Always raises a smile when I think of the moment it dawned upon someone.....................

Simon Crerar has something similar in mind:

If you are ever in Glasgow cross the Kingston Bridge on the M8 heading southbound, take the first exit and you will see a similar but much more spectacular sliproad leading into the sky. I believe this was part of a long abandoned plan to link the M8 with another motorway joining from the east.

Looks like a giant abandoned diving board.

I like that one in Manc though, I lived there in the early-90s and it always made me giggle.

Ron Hale has a question:

Please excuse me if I'm having a memory zap, but something I have remembered for years but no one else seems to is that, many years ago, when you came off the M1 at Junction 33 the green sign used to say Sheffield A57(M). This was the only sign like this along the whole length of the road. This road is now the A630.

Dominic adds to that:

Ron you are quite correct about the sign at the roundabout on the M1 jct 33. This sign was indeed put there as it was intended by the city council that the now Sheffield Parkway (which starts in Rotherham by the way) would be the A57 and link it to the M1, cutting the A57 off the map for approx 8 miles. However as always Sheffield council decided it was best to encourage more public transport usage and decided not to complete this idea. The Sheffield parkway now becomes the A57 at Mosbrough bypass junction, the bypass itself a pathetic dual carriageway and built on the cheap. The council decided it would build a new road called the Aston Bypass which is now the A57 and linked the city to the southern stretch of the A57 via this. Then in the early 1990's it changed the route again building a massive bridge to bypass a village with all of 5 people living in it.

I have to say that your pictures really don't do the A57 (M) justice! Where the entry slip is from Brook Street up the tight bend onto the A57 (M) is you really have to be the best driver in the world! In the space of 300 m if you wish to continue on the A57 (M) you need to cross into a lane doing 50mph from your 20ish mph or risk going down the next slip road! There are people merging into your lane at 50mph and you trying to get across to the right to get into Salford, this slip road should be closed or changed as it is deadly and pathetic. As for the unfinished bit of slip road you are totally right it doesn't have any point at all, however it was suppose to be the link into the city from A57 (M) but was never completed. At a recent meeting to discuss a proposed new glass tower on the famous Canal Street in the heart of Manchester's Gay village concerns were raised about access to it, it would seem there are some plans to complete the slip road and have it leading right into the heart of the Gay Village, so it might not be unused for long...

KTF likes the A57(M):

It may be pathetic, it may be a concrete hell, it may have hilarious slip roads that end mid-air and joining/exiting it may not be for those with a nervous disposition, but there's no doubting its importance in Manchester. On Thursday 8th June 2006 the whole thing was closed due to a police incident - cue unbridled mayhem on the streets of Manchester City Centre as the traffic had nowhere else to go for cross-city travel. Going off that morning's incident alone, I concluded that the Mancunian Way shaves a potential 45 minutes to an hour from my journey every day just by its sheer existence.....as long as there's not yet another rear-end shunt accident, or a lane needs closing because they're replacing the crash barriers.....

Ben Cross has some information about the signage:

In regards to the sliproad in the air and the really REALLY hairy junction for Sackville Street, the latest signs at least try to make best of the situation.

There is a really BIG sign on the abandoned slip road advising of the rather interesting arrangement of the junction that immediately follows. Whether it helps or not, I have no idea, but at least it is better than the previous signage as shown in your pictures.

Bill Bennett:

I drive Mancunian Way from time to time (I work at the university).  Your splendid picture of the Sackville St exit only hints at the joy of having to hit the anchors and drop down from 50 to under 30 in the space of a few yards, in order to make the hair-raising 180 hairpin required to go back down to the left (away from Sackville St) to get down onto Upper Brook St.

This lunacy is only topped by the magnificent entrance ramp from Upper Brook St, back onto Mancunian Way, mentioned by a couple of commenters above.  This is "Le Junction de Mort".  I know this route well, and I never, EVER use this ramp during rush hour, as odds-on I would be coming home to Salford in a bodybag.

I can only conclude that the road designers simply didn't want people who work at the university sullying their beautiful flyover.