Comments Archive (updated May 08):
Chris Marshall responds:
I actually can't believe I'm writing to defend this excuse for a road.
What you haven't mentioned is that big plans are afoot for the M606. At its southern end, building new free-flowing links to the M62 to the east are now on the government's Targeted Programme of Improvements and work should begin in another couple of years.
Better still, the northern junction at Staygate where the M606 seems more to give up than terminate is being fixed. No, it's not being extended any further north, but (as www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/m606/ handily shows) both carriageways under the roundabout will be put into use and vast improvements made.
In fact, you missed the M606 in all its true, awful, squalid glory days before these works started. Just a year ago, there was no mud or JCB under Staygate roundabout (previously the northbound carriageway turned to grass), and the signing has been replaced. I think the surface has been patched. Most of all, your photos show shiny new streetlights - just a year ago, the M606 sported failing orange sodium models with flaky brown paint and sometimes leaning poles (lights under Staygate were never two-sided either).
The M606 - the only Pathetic Motorway to be improving its lot?
In pedantic and tongue-in-cheek response to questions posed in your photo gallery:
How many choices??? - three. Roundabout, M606, M62.
That church is a bit close, isn't it? - yes.
Was it really worth getting the third lane? - yes, actually, it acts as a crawler lane up the hill, which previously caused problems for heavy traffic on the A638. Southbound is downhill and doesn't have a third lane.
Where's Leeds on the signpost? - the road from Bradford to Leeds is then A647 - most people going to Leeds won't be on the M606.
Joost Majoor adds a thought, and a theory:
It is really a pathetic motorway, and maybe even worse than the M271. Sharp bends, unfinished junctions with M606 J3 as the strangest junction. Perhaps unfinished due to lack of money or due to the same reason as the bad British cars of the 70s like the Princess?
Jim Rayner updates up on the M606 (July 2004):
The road has just opened today 8th July and when I saw it last weekend it looked pretty much ready to roll. Many years ago I did take some photos of the unfinished GSJ in all its derelict glory, however this was long before the days of SABRE and I most have thrown them away. The place at that time was slightly eerie. The new road does look more the part for anyone arriving in the city. I still can't help thinking whether some sort of link will ever be built into the city from here. Perhaps one day it might as some sort single carriageway industrial link road?
Richard Shaw has some information, and a follow up question:
I used to live alongside the M606 as a child in the 70s and remember at some time one of the carriageways collapsed into a disused mine. Unfortunately I don’t remember much more about this story, maybe somebody else recollects it.
Does anyone know any more about this story?
I recently had the opportunity to drive it and so i couldn't resist. I have to admit I don't think its pathetic as a road, but would agree it is as a motorway. It seems excessive. Like the M32 though it really provides important strategic access from the strategic network into or near the city centre (although that's being de-trunked). The junction in the middle is a complete joke but the road was very busy and seems longer than it looks on the map.
Pete North shows his love of Bradford:
I must whole heartedly disagree with your assertion that the M606 is a pathetic motorway. As a 20 year resident of Bradford I can honestly say that this road is Bradford's only saving grace. Any resident will agree that a fast exit from Bradford is a great idea.
Bradford is a 1/2 scale model of Birmingham without the charm. It's one of those UK cities that has ceased to be. It was a very rich textile city but that's all gone now so it's an overspill project for Leeds.
When I was in school there they ran a 20:20 vision project where pupils had to write an essay of what we would do to Bradford to make it better in 20 years time. I got detention for writing an essay saying how it should all be bulldozed back into the stone age. Ten years later and they're doing exactly that. It's one of those cities that majorly suffered from the 1960's concrete prefab boom where most of the public buildings look like pieces of wreckage of the deathstar, plummeted to earth and inhabited by psychotic ewoks.
It's also a bowl valley so you can't actually see over the hills anywhere so the mentality is very gloomy and inward looking. Bradford citizens seldom acknowledge the existence of other towns as a result. It has a constant cloud cover because it's the UK's highest city I think and it never gets any light so most of the peoples of Bradford are probably the most miserable bunch of doom sayers I ever met. I only moved 16 miles away to Leeds and it's like a different country.
Bradfordians have 47 different words for rain.
That's why the M606 is my most cherished road. Whenever I inadvertently end up there for family gatherings I am always assured of a speedy exit!
Jim Rayner has another update:
I was just looking thru the comments about the M606 and it seems it possibly get its own new category as a 'redeemed' & no longer pathetic motorway.
Anyway, a few more thoughts.
Richard Shaw writes in the M606 comments = "one of the carriageways collapsed into a mine"
Yes I do remember this as I am originally from Bradford. It happened in the either the late 1970's but probably the early 1980's when an old mine shaft opened up on the north bound carriageway near Oakenshaw church (the one by the motorway). It was fairly quickly filled in and capped with concrete from what I remember.
The M606 doesn't really deserve its pathetic status as it is getting better over the years. The unfinished GSJ at Staygate is now been incorporated into a new gyratory system. There are also plans for a P+R facility with the new Low Moor train station just off junction 2....& finally the M606 will get free flowing, east bound sliproads with the M62 sometime in the next 10 years. please see CBRD
Having had to drive the M606 every day for the last few months I can say that it's improved enormously with the completion of the northern end, although it's not without its strangeness.
The northern end has been completed so the original terminating junction is now designated Bradford West and is filtered about half a mile from the junction itself. The other two lanes now pass under the roundabout and end on a set of traffic lights - essential because the southbound entrance sweeps down from the roundabout and across the end of the road. The northbound lanes then curve right and up to join the ring road at another set of traffic lights. It's improved the traffic flow in the morning considerably.
There's still no future for expansion, so the ring road will be the only way around the city for the foreseeable, and the southern end has enormous room for improvement (the eastbound M62 is at a standstill for three junctions at 8am every morning, and an accident at Chain Bar can bring the whole system to a standstill) but for all that, it does what it says on the tin - connects Bradford to the M62 and saves me a frustrating battle with the Leeds rush hour everyday.
I grew up near the Staygate roundabout. When I was a lad (80s and 90s) before they put the road underneath it - there used to be a massive pile of grit - for road use in winter. I'm sure it was 3 or 4 stories high and filled the entire empty centre section of the roundabout.
Not very interesting - but it gave the visitors to Bradford a sign of things to come....
Oh and the story of the motorway collapsing into a mine is true - my mum mentioned it to me a while ago.
Ah but now they have finished that carriageway that goes under the roundabout, and replaced the mini roundabout with - some dodgy sliproads that get you to the same roundabout that was there before...
"Wolfie" has had a recent look up the M606, and his thoughts, and a brand new way that the M606 deserves to be here can be found on a special page...
John Spear has more on the junction number debacle:
The northernmost junction of the M606 has now [April 2006] been renumbered as junction 3 (the A6177 end). Some (but not all!) of the signs have even been changed to reflect this!
Peter Hewitt has some fascinating information:
Fairly early in my career (1960s) I worked in Bradford, and was responsible for fixing the line of the Bradford South Radial Motorway (M606). However, as you say, at that time it extended right into the City, and out again as the Bradford North Radial Motorway. The line of the route is as shown on the map on the web page - running northwards parallel to Canal Road (A6037).
At this point, you have to jump to the M650. This was called the "Aire Valley Motorway" which ran from Glusburn (on the line of the current A629) by-passing Keighley, Bingley and Shipley. At its western end, it was to join the M65 which was proposed to be extended into Yorkshire. At its eatern end, it would have joined up with the Bradford North Radial Motorway in the Shipley area. It was also likely that it would continue in the general direction of the Leeds-Bradford airport, where it would join another road, the Pudsey to Dishforth road. There was also a suggested link from the present M606 to this road, in the Pudsey area, providing a western link from M62 to the A1.
The Aire Valley Route got as far as a public inquiry which became notorious as the first truly acrimonious enquiry, featuring a guy called John Time and his rentacrowd. The scheme was eventually thrown out, but Bingley By-pass is in fact a remnant of this scheme.
Is M606 truly a Pathetic motorway? When its line was announced, The Bradford Telegraph and Argus on 19th February 1964 quotes the Chairman of the Public Works Committee as saying "This shows that Bradford is one of the most advanced cities in the Country, in regard to road plans for the future".
Perhaps I shouldn't have left!