M60 traffic

Bad for drivers x 15

The Hazel Grove-M60 Bypass will not solve Stockport’s traffic problems. There are two versions of the road under consideration; Version 1 has five sets of traffic lights in four and a half miles right on the carriageways. Version 2 has huge motorway-style junctions and a faster route for motorway cut-through drivers. Either way, Stockport drivers will struggle to get on the Bypass in the morning rush hour. The Bypass will create a whole new set of problems on Stockport’s roads – here are 15 of them.

  1. Bypass map showing traffic lights.More traffic through Stockport. Don’t imagine that the bypass will be congestion-free or only pick up drivers previously using local roads. The bypass will be a major new route to the motorways.
  2. They know it won’t work. Researchers and traffic planners have known for twenty years that creating new road space stimulates even more traffic journeys – since the official SACTRA report of 1994 led John Major’s Tories to cut road building. The 61,000 vehicles a day on the bypass in Bredbury (2004 official estimate) will be only the start.
  3. Escape from motorway jams. When the bypass and the airport relief road are both completed, they will offer jammed-up motorway drivers an escape route at both Bredbury (M60) and the Airport (M56). Motorway congestion could be shifted on to the bypass .
  4. Overwhelmed junctions. Back in 2003 Stockport Council bosses were seriously worried about motorway drivers rat-running on the relief road/bypass between the M56 Airport junction and the M60 at Bredbury. Their solution was traffic light controlled junctions on the relief road and bypass – rather than faster-flowing bridges and slip roads. Their theory was that queues at junctions will deter rat runners. Great idea – except that the junctions would seize up. We will find out next month whether the traffic lights are still in the plans.
  5. Secretive planning. Stockport MBC pushed through approval of the Airport Road (A6-MARR) without talking about the effect of adding the bypass to it – even though building the bypass has always been the intention! Once the bypass is open, it is bound to put more traffic on to the Airport Road. So don’t expect to zip through from the bypass to the airport at peak hours.

    Map of remodelled Crookilley way roundabout.

    Crookilley Way roundabout – as it would be.

  6. More tailbacks. When the airport road and the bypass clog up around junctions, tailbacks will spill over to jam up local streets – the very thing the new roads are meant to prevent.
  7. Short-lived relief. Although the A6-M60 Bypass will ease the heavy traffic on some local roads (notably Lower Bents Lane, Bredbury and the A627), gains may not be sustained. Drivers are always looking to find gaps in the traffic. As Stockport’s Director of Public Health said about the Airport Road: “The road capacity that it releases on Stockport roads will have negative impacts by generating replacement traffic.”
  8. Seized-up roundabout. The Crookilley Way Roundabout at M60 Junctions 25 & 26 will have to cope with many thousands more vehicles daily. Traffic lights will be installed and maybe the main Bypass carriageways will go through the centre of the roundabout, or possibly under it. They’ll think of something, maybe.
  9. Worse jams elsewhere. Creating new roads such as the A6-M60 Bypass tends to shift bottlenecks into feeder roads. In this case, expect to see Dan Bank, Marple and the A6 at High Lane more bunged up than ever.
  10. Marple, forget it. Because of the blockage at Dan Bank drivers coming from Marple will struggle to access the bypass in the rush hour. To get to the M60 they will continue to go through Marple Bridge to Lower Bents Lane, Bredbury – where the horrendous jams  are claimed to justify building the bypass.
  11. Bents Lane still waiting. It is very difficult for peak-time traffic to turn left out of Lower Bents Lane. This bottleneck could have been eased without building a whole bypass (by, for example, extending Bents Lane to Ashton Road roundabout), but building the bypass may not sort it out.
  12. Held hostage in Bredbury. If the bypass tunnels under Stockport Road West at Bredbury to get to the motorway, that still leaves a lot of traffic from Hyde direction trying to turn right to get to the M60. The bypass plan written in 2004 has some ideas to help such as widening Stockport Road West. It’s a pity all improvements have to wait for the bypass.
  13. A6 paradise lost. The Airport Road, now being built, may succeed in diverting some traffic away from the A6. The Bypass would build up congestion again around the Sainsbury’s/A6/Bramhall Moor Lane junction which would connect with a link road to the Bypass.

    Queuing traffic.

    The Marple crawl would get worse.

  14. Many months of mayhem. Construction work for the bypass will cause massive disruption to peak-hour commuters on the A626, A627, A560, Crookilley Way roundabouts and the M60.
  15. Marple Road still queuing. The bypass will cross beneath Marple Road A626 but getting on to the access road will involve traffic lights and tailbacks – before meeting more lights on the bypass itself. Already narrow sections of Marple Road easily become blocked. There will also be a very busy junction at Offerton Road A627.

Read why the bypass will jam up and how the Airport Road became a Trojan for the M56-M60 link.

Some sources

  • Official environmental summary 2003: http://www.semmms.info/140683/semmsreliefroadenvironmentalassessmentexesummary
  • Full environmental report: SEMMMS Major Road Schemes Stage 2 Environmental Assessment (available from Stockport MBC)
  • The route, including both M60 to A6 and A6 to M56: South East Manchester Multi Modal Strategy, Annex E, Appraisal of SEMMMS New Relief Road July 2004 (available from Stockport MBC)
  • A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road Transport Assessment Main Text October 2013 http://a6marr.stockport.gov.uk/746597/760095/760276
  • Stockport MBC’s strategy: “SEMMMS new relief road scheme – results and conclusions of initial assessment” October 31, 2003 (can be found by search engines)
  • Unintended consequences of road building were revealed in the SACTRA report 1994 – Trunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic (now withdrawn from the Government’s website).
  • Pathetic Motorways http://pathetic.org.uk/unbuilt/a6m/maps/

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