The Hazel Grove-M60 (aka Stockport North-South) Bypass previously appeared in the planners’ portfolio as the A6M – a full motorway surely completely out of proportion to the fields and communities east of Stockport through which it was intended to bulldoze its way?
It’s amazing how a bad idea just cannot be killed off. The proponents of the A6M are still with us today and pushing for its slightly more modest successor. Back in 1988 when the A6M was approved by a public inquiry, motorway was the only form of earth-bound transport thought to have a future. Road-reverence ruled.
The A6M was the central element of a larger and even crazier scheme. The A6M itself was approved to go from Hazel Grove to Bredbury/Brinnington as now proposed, and then as M66 (not the present one) on to Denton. South of Hazel Grove, dual carriageway would continue at least to Disley, and maybe towards Buxton in the minds of motorway-obsessed officials at the Department for Transport.
Back in 1988 the M60 did not yet exist. Something called the M63 reached Brinnington from Stockport and the west in 1989. The M63 was intended to head to Hattersley. The mess of Junction 25 now enters the story. It was never intended to be the south-eastern corner of a ring road; it was designed as a cross-roads with A6M/M66 continuing north and the M63 going east. The outcome is as if East and South were removed from the compass, leaving only North and West.
On the bend, both sides of the present M60 were originally designed as slip roads and widened later, while the A6M was planned to take off and land in the centre of the M66. The M63 would have continued east underneath the A6M. See how it looked in a premature A-Z.
The result has been a lethally too sharp bend on the current M60. Junction 26 at Portwood has been patchcocked together to provide additional access. Of the A6M take-off pad going south, there survives only a puzzling patch of tarmac in the centre of the motorway.
By the time the M63 now M60 was being completed at the end of the 1990s the A6M should have been decently forgotten. Instead it was being camouflaged to suit news times – as part of the bewilderingly titled South East Manchester Multi Modal Study. SEMMMS involved a tip of the hat to buses, trams and bikes, before the business of roadbuilding got under way again.
The Hazel Grove-M60 bypass, the A6 Manchester Airport Relief Road and the Poynton Bypass were proposed as a joint package, with the last two now having reached the construction stage. Stockport Council sees the bypass as unfinished business. Will they never learn? The history of the bypass tells us that it is an idea that is bad news from start to finish.