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M6 motorway

M6 motorway shield

M6 motorway
M6 highlighted in dark blue
Route information
Part of E05 and E24
Maintained by Highways Agency
Length: 232.2 mi (373.7 km)
History: Opened in 1958, completed in 2008
Major junctions
South end: Catthorpe
 
M1 motorway

J2 → M69 motorway

J3a → M6 Toll

J4 → M42 motorway

J4a → M42 motorway

J6 → A38(M) motorway

M5 motorway

J10a → M54 motorway

J11a → M6 Toll

J20 → M56 motorway

J21a → M62 motorway

J26 → M58 motorway

J29 → M65 motorway

J30 → M61 motorway

J32 → M55 motorway

J35 → A601(M) motorway

J45 → A74(M) motorway
North end: Gretna
Location
Primary
destinations
:
Rugby
Coventry
Nuneaton
Birmingham
Walsall
Wolverhampton
Cannock
Stafford
Stoke-on-Trent
Newcastle-under-Lyme
Warrington
Wigan
Manchester
Liverpool
Preston
Lancaster
Kendal
Penrith
Carlisle
Gretna
Road network

The M6 motorway runs from junction 19 of the M1 at the Catthorpe Interchange, near Rugby via Birmingham then heads north, passing Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and terminating at the Gretna junction (J45). Here, just short of the Scottish border it becomes the A74(M) which continues to Glasgow as the M74.

The M6 is the longest motorway in the United Kingdom and one of the busiest. It incorporated the Preston By-pass, the first length of motorway opened in the UK and forms part of a motorway "Backbone of Britain", running north−south between London and Glasgow via the industrial North of England. It is also part of the east−west route between the Midlands and the east-coast ports. The section from the M1 to the M6 Toll split near Birmingham forms part of the unsigned E-road E 24 and the section from the M6 Toll and the M42 forms part of E 05.

Contents

  • Route 1
  • History 2
    • Planning and construction 2.1
    • Operational 2.2
  • Proposed developments 3
    • Hard shoulder running (junction 4–5 and 8 to 10a) 3.1
    • Managed motorway J13 and J19 3.2
    • Catthorpe interchange – (M6/M1/A14) 3.3
  • Junctions 4
  • Legislation 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Route

The M6 motorway runs from junction 19 of the M1 and from the beginning of A14 in Catthorpe near Rugby in central England, passes between Coventry and Nuneaton, through Birmingham, Walsall and Stafford and near the major cities of Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent.[1] The motorway has major junctions with the M56 and M62 at Warrington, giving access to Chester, Manchester and Liverpool.[2] The M6 then heads north past Wigan, Preston and Lancaster.[3] After the latter two cities it passes through Cumbria with some parts very close to the edge of the Lake District, and then passes Carlisle on its way to Gretna,[4] before the motorway becomes the A74(M) a few hundred metres (yards) short of the Scottish border.[5][6]

History

Planning and construction

The first section of the motorway and the first motorway in the country was the Preston By-pass. It was built by Tarmac Construction and opened by the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 5 December 1958.[7] In January 1959 the Preston by-pass was closed because of rapid surface deterioration over a stretch of 100 yards (91 m) "due to water freezing and then thawing". Motorists were diverted to the old road while the UK road research laboratory at Harmondsworth pondered the importance of surface water drainage.[8]

Later, other sections of the motorway were constructed, and finally it was all linked together, giving an uninterrupted motorway length of 230 miles (370 km).[9][10][11]

The M6 in Cheshire

The second phase of construction was completed in 1960, forming the Lancaster by-pass. Some 100 miles (160 km) south, the Stafford by-pass was completed in 1962.[12][13] By 1965, the remaining sections of motorway Stafford–Preston and Preston–Lancaster had been completed. 1968 saw the completion of the Walsall to Stafford link as well as the Penrith by-pass some 150 miles (240 km) north in Cumberland. In 1970, the Lancaster–Penrith link was completed, along with a short section of motorway by-passing the south of Walsall. The most northerly section of the motorway also opened in 1970, running to the designated terminus north of Carlisle. By 1971,[12] the full route was completed between the junction with the M1 motorway at Rugby and the A38 road several miles north-east of Birmingham city centre, including Bromford Viaduct between Castle Bromwich (J5) and Gravelly Hill (J6), which at 3½ miles is the longest viaduct in Great Britain.[14][15]

Junction 6 in Birmingham is widely known as Spaghetti Junction because of its complexity. On the elevated ground between Shap and Tebay, the north- and south-bound carriages split apart.[16] At this point a local road (to Scout Green) runs between the two carriageways without a link to the motorway.[17]

The section of the M6 that runs over Shap Fell in

  • CBRD
    • Motorway database – M6
    • Histories – opening booklets, including M6 Preston Bypass
    • Bad Junctions
      • M6/A683
      • M6/M58
      • M6/A34
  • Lancashire Historic Highways – a page supplied by Lancashire County Council detailing the history of the M6 in North West England, and the construction of Preston Bypass, the UK's first motorway.
  • Route 6
  • The Motorway Archive
    • Junctions 1 to 13
    • Junctions 13 to 16
    • Junctions 16 to 20
    • Junctions 20 to 29
    • Junctions 29 to 32
    • Junctions 33 to 35
    • Junctions 35 to 40
    • Junctions 40 to 41
    • Junctions 41 to 44

External links

  • Jackson, Mike (2004). The M6 Sights Guide. Severnpix.  

Further reading

  1. ^ Frommer's Short (22 December 2011). "4". The Borders and Galloway Regions, Scotland: Frommer's ShortCuts. 1 I (I ed.). London: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 56–.  
  2. ^ Highways Agency, ed. (2004). "1". M6 Route Management Strategy: Warrington to the Scottish Borders : Final Strategy Summary Brochure, January 2004. 1 1 (I ed.). Scotland: Highways Agency. p. 54. 
  3. ^ Lesley Anne Rose; Michael Macaroon; Vivienne Crow (6 January 2012). "36". Frommer's Scotland. I I (I ed.). London: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 424–.  
  4. ^ Baldwin, Peter; Porter (M.S.), John; Baldwin, Robert (2004). "72". In Thomas Telford. The Motorway Achievement. I I (One ed.). London: Thomas Telford. pp. 836–.  
  5. ^ Highways Agency, ed. (2004). "1". M6 Route Management Strategy: Warrington to the Scottish Borders : Final Strategy Summary Brochure, January 2004. 1 1 (I ed.). Scotland: Highways Agency. p. 73. 
  6. ^ Frommer's Short (22 December 2011). "3". The Borders and Galloway Regions, Scotland: Frommer's ShortCuts. I I (I ed.). Scotland: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 56–.  
  7. ^ "Preston Bypass Opening (Booklet)" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "The Preston By-pass-Enquiry Needed". Practical Motorist and Motor Cyclist 5 (57): 803. March 1959. 
  9. ^ Surveyor. The St. Bride's press. 1978. p. 21. 
  10. ^ British Information Services; Great Britain. Central Office of Information (1 January 1970). "I". Survey of British and Commonwealth affairs. One I (I ed.). England, United Kingdom: Published for British Information Services by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Great Britain. Central Office of Information. Reference Division; British Information Services (1979). Inland transport in Britain. H.M.S.O.  
  12. ^ a b Institution of Highway Engineers (1981). The Highway engineer. Institution of Highway Engineers. p. 23. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "III". Surveyor. 1 XII (XII ed.). London: The St. Bride's press. 1978. p. 35. 
  14. ^ 'ciht.org.uk''"'". Ciht.org.uk (Self-published). Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  15. ^ John Porter (M.S.) (2002). The Motorway Achievement: Frontiers of Knowledge and Practice. Thomas Telford. pp. 539–.  
  16. ^ T. G. Carpenter (27 January 2011). Construction in the Landscape: A Handbook for Civil Engineering to Conserve Global Land Resources. Routledge. pp. 143–.  
  17. ^ "2". The Spectator 245. F.C. Westley. 1980. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Great Britain. Ministry of Housing and Local Government (1965). The Municipal Journal 73. Municipal Journal. 
  19. ^ Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Transport Committee; Parliament Transport Committee Great Britain House of Commons (2 August 2005). Road Pricing: The Next Steps; Seventh Report of Session 2004–05. The Stationery Office. pp. 46–.  
  20. ^ Peter Baldwin; John Porter (M.S.); Robert Baldwin (2004). The Motorway Achievement. Thomas Telford. pp. 469–.  
  21. ^ "M6". The Motorway Archive. Midland Links Motorways. Self-published. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "News: Motorway lighting".  
  23. ^ "M6 Carlisle — Gretna". CBRD. Self-published. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  24. ^ "M6 Carlisle to Guards Mill Extension". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "M6 North Extension, United Kingdom". Road Traffic Technology. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  26. ^ Royal Town Planning Institute (2006). "I". Planning: for the natural and built environment. I I (1 ed.). London: Planning Publications. p. 14. 
  27. ^ "one year after study". Highways Agency. 11 August 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  28. ^ Highways & road construction international 41. 1973. 
  29. ^ Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (2012). Parliamentary debates: Official report. H.M. Stationery Off. 
  30. ^ a b "Decision on M6 Upgrade Announced". News Distribution Service for the Government and Public Sector. Archived from the original on 4 May 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "Hard-shoulder scheme to go nationwide".  
  32. ^ Baldwin, Peter; John, Porter (M.S.); Baldwin, Robert; Thomas Telford (2004). "XIV". In Thomas Telford. The Motorway Achievement. I I (I ed.). London: Thomas Telford. p. 693.  
  33. ^ Baldwin, Peter; John, Porter (M.S.); Baldwin, Robert; Thomas Telford (2004). "XV". In Thomas Telford. The Motorway Achievement. I I (I ed.). London: Thomas Telford. pp. 694–.  
  34. ^ "Encouraging better use of roads and the M6". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 11 August 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  35. ^ Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Welsh Affairs Committee (22 December 2010). The Severn crossings toll: third report of session 2010–11, report, together with formal minutes and written evidence. The Stationery Office. pp. 58–.  
  36. ^ "M6 Jct 11A – 19 (Increasing Capacity) Study". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "M6 Junctions 13–19 Managed Motorway". 
  38. ^ "M1 Jct 19". Retrieved 28 February 2008. 
  39. ^ Driver Location Signs, M6 J4-18(map) Highway Authority 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  40. ^ Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (map) – Highway Authority, 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  41. ^ "S.I. 1987/252". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  42. ^ "S.I. 1987/2254". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  43. ^ "S.I. 1990/2659". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  44. ^ "S.I. 1991/1873". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  45. ^ "S.I. 1993/1370". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  46. ^ "S.I. 1997/1292". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  47. ^ "S.I. 1997/1293". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  48. ^ "S.I. 1998/125". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

References

See also

  • Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 252: County Council of West Midlands (M6 Motorway Junction 10) (Connecting Road) Scheme 1985 Confirmation Instrument 1987[41]
  • Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 2254: M6 Motorway (Catthorpe Interchange) Connecting Roads Scheme 1987[42]
  • Statutory Instrument 1990 No. 2659: M6 Motorway: Widening between Junctions 20 and 21A (Thelwall Viaduct) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1990[43]
  • Statutory Instrument 1991 No. 1873: M6 Motorway (Widening and Improvements Between Junctions 30 and 32) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1991[44]
  • Statutory Instrument 1993 No. 1370: Lancashire County Council (Proposed Connecting Roads to M6 Motorway at Haighton) Special Roads Scheme 1992 Confirmation Instrument 1993[45]
  • Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1292: M6 Birmingham to Carlisle Motorway (At Haighton) Connecting Roads Scheme 1997[46]
  • Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1293: M6 Birmingham To Carlisle Motorway (at Haighton) Special Roads Scheme 1997 Transfer Order 1997[47]
  • Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 125: The M6 Motorway (Saredon and Packington Diversions) Scheme 1998[48]

Each motorway in England requires that a legal document called a Statutory Instrument to be published, detailing the route of the road, before it can be built. The dates given on these Statutory Instruments relate to when the document was published, and not when the road was built. Provided below is an incomplete list of the Statutory Instruments relating to the route of the M6.

Legislation

M6 motorway
mile km Northbound exits (A carriageway) Junction Southbound exits (B carriageway) Coordinates
M6 continues as A74(M) to Glasgow, Edinburgh
313.2 504.3 Gretna (Green) B7076
Longtown A6071
M6 J45
No access
309.6
309.2
498.2
497.5
Todhills Rest Area Services Todhills Rest Area
307.6
307.3
495.1
494.6
Carlisle (North), Galashiels, Hawick A7 J44
Carlisle A7, Workington (A595)
Hexham A689
303.8
303.5
488.9
488.4
Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69 J43 Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69
301.1
300.7
484.6
484.0
Carlisle (South) A6 J42 Carlisle (South) A6
Southwaite services Services Southwaite services
288.7
288.4
464.6
464.1
Wigton B5305 J41 Wigton B5305
285.5
285.2
459.5
459.0
Penrith, Workington, Keswick, Scotch Corner A66 J40 Penrith, Keswick, Brough, Scotch Corner A66
274.4
274.0
441.6
441.0
Shap (A6) J39 Shap, Kendal (A6)
Tebay services Services Tebay services
268.9
268.5
432.7
432.1
Brough A685
Appleby B6260
J38 Kendal, Brough A685
260.3
260.0
418.9
418.4
Kendal, Sedbergh A684 J37 Kendal, Sedbergh A684
No access Services Killington Lake services
252.7
252.3
406.7
406.0
Kirkby Lonsdale, Skipton A65
Kendal, Barrow-in-Furness A590
J36 Kirkby Lonsdale, Skipton A65
Barrow-in-Furness A590
Burton-in-Kendal services Services No access
245.1
244.6
394.4
393.6
Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6) J35 Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6)
240.8
240.6
387.6
387.2
Lancaster, Morecambe, Kirkby Lonsdale, Heysham A683 J34 Lancaster, Morecambe A683
234.6
234.3
377.6
377.1
Lancaster (South) A6 J33 Garstang, Fleetwood A6
Lancaster (Forton) services Services Lancaster (Forton) services
221.5
221.0
356.5
355.7
Blackpool, Fleetwood M55, Preston (North), Garstang A6 J32
Blackpool M55, Preston (North) A6
219.5
219.3
353.2
352.9
Preston (East), Longridge B6242 J31A No access
Preston (Central), Blackburn (North), Clitheroe A59 J31 Preston (Central), Clitheroe A59
215.4
214.9
346.6
345.9
No access J30 Manchester, Bolton M61
Leeds (M62)
Blackburn (M65)
213.9
213.5
344.3
343.6
Burnley, Blackburn, Preston (South) M65 J29 Burnley, Blackburn M65
212.3
211.9
341.6
341.0
Leyland B5256 (A49) J28 Leyland B5256 (A49)
Charnock Richard services Services Charnock Richard services
204.8
204.4
329.6
329.0
Parbold, Standish, Chorley A5209 J27 Parbold, Wigan A5209
200.8
200.5
323.1
322.6
Wigan A577
Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport M58
J26 Wigan A577
St Helens Liverpool Southport (M58)
Kirkby, Fazakerley (M57)
198.0
197.8
318.7
318.3
Wigan A49 J25 No access
196.9
196.5
316.9
316.3
No access J24 Ashton-in-Makerfield, St. Helens A58
195.6
195.2
314.8
314.1
Haydock, Ashton-in-Makerfield, St Helens, Manchester, Liverpool, Newton-le-Willows A580 J23 Haydock, Ashton-in-Makerfield, St Helens, Manchester, Liverpool, Newton-le-Willows A580
192.4
192.1
309.6
309.1
Newton-le-Willows A49 Leigh A579 J22 Warrington A49
191.0
190.5
307.4
306.5
Manchester, Leeds M62 J21A Liverpool, Southport M62
Liverpool, Southport M62 Manchester, Leeds M62
188.3
188.0
303.0
302.5
Warrington, Irlam A57 J21 Warrington, Irlam A57
Thelwall Viaduct
185.6 298.7 No access J20 Macclesfield, Warrington A50
Lymm B5158
185.3 298.2 No access J20A NORTH WALES, Chester, Runcorn, Manchester & Airport M56
184.5 296.9 NORTH WALES, Chester, Runcorn M56 J20 No access
Warrington, Lymm A50
180.3
179.9
290.2
289.5
Manchester & Airport, Stockport A556 (M56 east) J19 Northwich, Knutsford, Macclesfield A556
Knutsford services
(Sign Posted No HGVs use Poplar 2000 Services (Lymm), but HGV fuel pumps and a small HGV parking area are provided)
Services Knutsford services
172.2
171.9
277.2
276.7
Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Winsford, Northwich, Chester A54 J18 Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Winsford A54
168.9
168.3
271.3
270.8
Congleton, Sandbach A534 J17 Congleton, Sandbach A534
Sandbach services Services Sandbach services
162.6
162.3
261.7
261.2
Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, Nantwich A500 J16 Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, Nantwich A500
Keele services Services Keele services
153.1
152.9
246.4
246.1
Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme A500 J15 Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Eccleshall A500
Derby (A50)
Stafford services Services Stafford services North

South

142.0
141.8
228.6
228.2
Stafford, Stone, Eccleshall A34 J14 Stafford (North) A34
136.8
136.5
220.1
219.6
Stafford A449 J13 Stafford (South & Central) A449
131.6
131.2
211.8
211.1
Telford A5 J12 Cannock, Wolverhampton A5, North Wales, Telford (M54)
No access J11A
The SOUTH, Lichfield M6 Toll
128.7
128.4
207.2
206.7
(M6 Toll), Cannock A460 J11 Wolverhampton A460
Hilton Park services Services Hilton Park services
127.0
126.7
204.4
203.9
NORTH WALES, Wolverhampton, Telford M54 J10A
J10A — M54
No access
123.3
122.9
198.4
197.8
Walsall, Wolverhampton A454 J10 Walsall A454
121.7
121.5
195.8
195.6
Wednesbury A461 J9 Wednesbury A461
119.9 193.0 The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham (West), West Bromwich M5 J8
The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham, West Bromwich M5
118.4
118.1
190.6
190.1
Birmingham (NW), Walsall A34 J7
Birmingham A34
114.2
113.9
183.8
183.3
Birmingham (Central & North) A38(M)
Sutton Coldfield A5127
J6
Gravelly Hill Interchange
Birmingham A38(M) & A38
110.9
110.8
178.5
178.3
Birmingham (NE), Castle Bromwich A452 J5
No access
108.8
108.6
175.1
174.8
No access J4A The NORTH (M1), Tamworth M42 (N), M6 Toll
The SOUTH, London (M40), Birmingham (S), N.E.C. & Airport M42 (S)
106.0
105.7
170.6
170.1
Lichfield, Coleshill A446, The SOUTH WEST (M5)
Birmingham (South), Solihull M42(S)
J4 Coventry, Birmingham Airport, NEC A446
The NORTH WEST (M6 Toll), Tamworth M42(N) J3A No access
Corley services Services Corley services
96.9
96.4
155.9
155.2
Coventry (North), Nuneaton A444, Bedworth B4113 J3 Coventry (North), Nuneaton A444, Bedworth B4113
93.7
93.3
150.8
150.1
Coventry A46
Leicester M69 (M1)
J2 Coventry (East) A46, Leicester, Hinckley M69 (M1(N))
85.6
85.2
137.8
137.1
Rugby A426 J1 Rugby, Lutterworth A426
85.2 137.1 No access M1 J19
Felixstowe, Corby, Kettering A14, Birmingham, Leicester M1 (North), London, Northampton M1 (South)
Start of motorway

Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information. Where a junction spans several hundred metres (yards) and the start and end distances are known, both distances are shown.[39][40]

Junctions

The Highways Agency has developed proposals for a major upgrade to the overloaded Catthorpe Interchange where the M6, the M1 motorway and the A14 road meet at Catthorpe.[38]

Catthorpe interchange – (M6/M1/A14)

The government wishes to improve reliability and capacity between Junctions 11 by Cannock and Junction 19 near Knutsford. In 2004, it favoured a new motorway, 'The Expressway' following a roughly parallel course to the existing M6.[34][35] In July 2006, the government announced its decision to abandon the Expressway proposal, and favoured widening accompanied by demand-management measures,[30] and have launched a study to consider options for providing additional capacity.[36] The current proposal is in introduce managed motorway between Junction 13 and 19.[37]

Managed motorway J13 and J19

In October 2007, following a successful trial on the M42 in the West Midlands, the UK government have announced that two stretches of the M6 will be upgraded to allow the hard shoulder to be used as a normal running lane during busy conditions under a scheme called Active Traffic Management.[31] The two stretches, between junctions 4 and 5 and between junctions 10a and 8, are two of the busiest sections on the entire motorway.[32] The system could also be extended onto other stretches of the M6 as the government is going to undertake a feasibility study to determine other likely locations where this technology can be used.[33]

Hard shoulder running (junction 4–5 and 8 to 10a)

Proposed developments

A proposed extension to the M6 Toll known as the 'M6 Expressway', which would have continued from the M6 Toll as far as Knutsford, at which point much of the existing M6 traffic leaves the M6 for Manchester, was abandoned in 2006 due to excessive costs, anticipated construction problems[30] and disappointing levels of use of the M6 Toll.

The M6 Toll, Britain's first toll motorway, which bypasses the West Midlands conurbation to the east and north of Birmingham and Walsall and was built to alleviate congestion through the West Midlands, and opened in December 2003. Before the opening of the toll motorway, this section of the M6 carried 180,000 vehicles per day at its busiest point near Wolverhampton (between the junctions with the M54 and M5 motorways), compared with a design capacity of only 72,000 vehicles. Usage, at about 50,000 vehicles, was lower than expected and traffic levels on the M6 were only slightly reduced as a result. The high toll prices, which were set by the operating company and over which the UK government has no influence until 2054, were blamed for the low usage.[27] Much traffic continues to use the M6 or the continued on the M1 and took the A50 or A52.[28] As of July 2012 the road between Junctions 3A and 11A now carries 120,000 motor vehicles every day.[29]

In March 2006, after 15 years of debate,[23] the government authorised the construction of a 6-mile (9.7 km) extension of the M6 from its then northern terminus near Carlisle to the Anglo-Scottish border at Gretna (the so-called "Cumberland Gap"), where it links into the existing A74(M).[24] The road opened on 5 December 2008, the 50th anniversary of the M6 Preston By-pass.[25] The project, which was a mixture of new road and upgrade of the existing A74, crosses the West Coast Main Line and had an estimated costs of £174 million. It completed an uninterrupted motorway from just south of Dunblane (via the M9, the recently opened M80 section near Cumbernauld and the M73) in the north to Exeter (via the M5) and to London (via both the M42/M40 and the M1) in the south.[26]

In July 1972 the UK Minister for Transport Industries announced that 86 miles (138 km) of UK motorway particularly prone to fog would benefit from lighting in a project which "should be" completed by 1973.[22] Sections to be illuminated included the M6 between junctions 10 and 11, and between junctions 20 and 27.[22]

Operational

The route was originally intended to replace the old A6, which it does along the northern section starting with the Preston Bypass. However, a much closer approximation to the overall actual route of the M6 (heading north from its southern terminus) is provided by following the A45, A34, A50, A49, then the A6.[20] South of Preston, the A6 route is instead supplemented by the M61 as far as Manchester, with the M60 acting as a bypass around the city. South of Manchester, there is no true motorway replacement for the old road. The M1 acts as a bypass for long-distance traffic in the south, from the Kegworth junction near Nottingham, to Luton and St. Albans near London; but, it is not an alternative for local traffic as the routes diverge by more than 15 miles while passing through Northamptonshire. Across the Pennines, the old road remains the main local through-route, and long-distance fast traffic between Derby and Manchester must instead take either the A50 and M6, or M1 and M62.[21]

The northbound entry slip road at Lancaster (junction 34) is unusually short, presenting problems for traffic joining the motorway. The M6 crosses the River Lune at this point and unless the bridge had been made wider, there was no space to build a longer slip road. This junction was upgraded from an earlier emergency-vehicles-only access point, which explains the substandard design.[19]

[18]

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