M60 Motorway

It is safe to say that the most notable change to the Audenshaw landscape in the nineteenth century was brought about by the building of the Audenshaw reservoirs; while in the twentieth century it was brought about by improvements to the road system, in particular the building of the M60 motorway.

The concept of the Manchester Outer Ring Road has been about since the 1940s. In 1949 plans were in place for the Liverpool to Leeds motorway, which became the M62, part of which makes up the north part of the outer ring road. Since then the M63 was built making up the west and south part and a link from the M62 to Middleton was built as an extension to the M66. In 1988 a further section of motorway was opened linking the M63 to Denton, also called the M66. So the Denton to Middleton section is the final section of motorway to complete the ring around Manchester. In 1998 the whole ring was renamed the M60.

In the mid 1960s a line through Audenshaw was marked on maps to reserve the area for the motorway and some 79 houses were purchased in order to demolish them. This route runs alongside Audenshaw Reservoirs (on part of Fairfield Golf Course), across the Manchester to Guide Bridge railway over the platforms of Fairfield Station, under the Manchester Road/Audenshaw Road junction, then under Droylsden Road, then bearing right to go through the area of Lees Park and Ashton Moss and passing Moorside Stadium.

As it turns out this was not the route that was chosen. The actual route runs across Audenshaw Reservoir number 2, across Audenshaw Road and Lumb Lane, then leftwards under Manchester Road and through Ashton Moss. This route was chosen in the late 1970s.

Two other routes were considered: one would have utilised the line of the disused railway past Aldwyn County Primary School; another would have run along the east side of Audenshaw Reservoirs following the Stockport to Stalybridge railway to near Guide Bridge, then running north across another railway, a canal and the east end of Ashton Moss Colliery.

The construction of the Denton to Middleton section of the motorway was split into four contracts, the section running through Audenshaw being 'contract 1'. The works were carried out by the AMEC Alfred McAlpine Joint Venture and started in 1996. The tender price for the contract was £101.9 million.
Other effects of the motorway work have been a new road, Moss Way, linking Audenshaw Road to Manchester Road, opened in 1998; the rerouting of Audenshaw Road to go over a bridge over the motorway; the widening of Guide Lane at the junction with Audenshaw Road and the closure of Lumb Lane to through traffic.
Progress on this motorway has not been completely smooth. The contract was extended by thirty seven weeks due to unforeseen ground conditions. Financial constraints and controversy over damage to the environment has also hampered progress, as has difficulty in finding suitable clay for a new dam to Audenshaw Reservoir. Bad weather conditions were also blamed for severe delays.

The construction was completed in 2000. Before being opened for traffic it was used as a film location for Granada TVs medical drama, ‘Always and Everyone‘. A trident aircraft was transported to the site to create a scene of an air crash.

John Lysons

 

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Under construction from Audenshaw Road Audenshaw Road is diverted over the new bridge to the right