M62 Stretford-Eccles Bypass


Yes, M62.

What on earth's that doing here?

This is not about the modern behemoth that runs from Liverpool - East Yorkshire, but the original.

The original?

And the best!

Enough advertising slogans! What's going on?

OK, the original M62 was planned to be the the western loop around Manchester and Salford, which is now part of the M60, between junctions 7 and 13.

This was then to be extended in the one direction to Yorkshire to form the Lancashire - Yorkshire Motorway, and the other direction around the M60.


But what?

As usual, things didn't turn out the way that was originally planned!

OK, I'll bite. What happened?

Well, MoT documentation exists for "M62 Sale Eastern and Northenden Bypass", i.e present M60 J2 - J7.

Some bright spark decided that having the main route across the Pennines shaped like a walking stick around the west of Manchester wasn't a good idea. So, what to do?

One of the ideas involved using the M61 number to go from Preston across into Yorkshire - but that was canned too.

Instead, the link from Liverpool (the South Lancashire Motorway), already in the planning stages would carry the same number as the route across the Pennines, meaning that a single number for a coast-to-almost coast motorway would be used.

This is why the M62 used to "turn the corner" west of Manchester...

The bit south of the junction between the two had its number changed to M63, so for a while M62 suddenly became M63 for no readily apparent reason.

So, what was it like originally?

Peter Whatley emailed in to suggest the original M62 with this:

The original and genuine M62 was two lanes each way, plus hard shoulder, and was entirely within Lancashire. The road was a significant milestone in the development of post-war Manchester, forming a hugely-needed crossing of the Ship Canal at a time when there were only swing bridges at Eccles and Pomona Docks (where Salford Quays now stands). The canal in the late 1950s/early 1960s was very busy and road delays could be horrendous - the M62 Barton Viaduct (and Thelwall on the M6) transformed journeys not only for the north-west, but for journeys north-south generally. Barton Viaduct was considered a marvel of the age - there is archive BBC footage of an 'open day' for the public shortly before opening with ladies in their Sunday-best pushing prams (slowly) up the approaches to the new bridge.

The M62 was only transformed into the M63 when the Trans-Pennine motorway scheme was part-completed in the early 1970s since it made better sense for the complete Liverpool-Hull route to take the number of the main A-road and become the M62. A small part of the original kept its designation (between the M62/M63/M602 junction - today's M60 junction 12) and the original M62's northern terminus (now M60, junction 13), so the original M62 was not completely lost until the much more recent redefinition of the entire Manchester orbital as M60. The big failing in the original scheme, incidentally, was the lack of good access at the northern end to the A580, the East Lancashire Road and the quasi-motorway from Liverpool to Manchester - something not remedied in the new M62's construction! To get to the A580 from the south, you still have a rush-hour crawl through sunny Worsley.

A final word of patheticness for this marvellous mini-motorway. It must be one of the most altered in the whole UK. It became clear with the M62/M602 scheme that two lanes each way would not be enough. Also, access to the Carrington refinery complex was poor. Thus, the schemes to create the A6144(M) (which name be forever praised!) and to widen the original motorway and Barton bridge. I spent many happy hours queuing for the roadworks on Barton Bridge in the 1980s as traffic squeezed through one side of the original bridge, using the hard shoulder as a lane. One broken-down vehicle on that steep gradient equalled chaos! The Carrington Spur scheme included dismantling M63 junction 5 at Urmston (with the B5213) in favour of new junction 6 for the A6144(M). The two junctions never co-existed, so for many years either junction 5 or 6 was missing in the numbering scheme! Now in its third guise as the M60, the good old M62 is getting widened again, with feeder lanes where they should have been provided from the first M63 widening. Indeed had that been done back in the 1980s, the old Urmston junction could have been retained, leading straight into the off-ramp to the Carrington Spur in exactly the same way that the A56 link now leaves it.

The M62>M63>M60. Possibly the finest pathetic motorway in the world?

I see. Is there anything else interesting about this motorway?

Well, there's a couple of "firsts" associated with it.

The Stretford-Eccles Bypass was the first stretch of motorway built and maintained by a local authority, in this case Lancashire County Council.

Also, the first construction work on a UK motorway happened here - before the M1/M10/M45 combination, and before the Preston Bypass section of the M6, Britain's first motorway. The local authority acquired a load of landfill, and used it to build up the embankments for the Barton High Level Bridge. In fact, this was done before the motorway got the go-ahead. It's probably a good thing that it did!

Have you got a map that shows the original M62?

What do you think?

However, as an added bonus, here's a full picture of the commemorative opening stone!

Can I comment on this motorway?

Of course! Contact me and I'll put them here!

Have any other visitors commented?

Not yet...


Stretford - Eccles Bypass




6 miles

9 km





Map Links:

Might Have Been Map

On other websites:

The Motorway Archive