Junction 25 of the M60 is a ludicrous and dangerous folly bequeathed us by the predecessor of the currently proposed A6-M60 Bypass. Its concrete chaos carries a message: don’t let the road builders have another go!
The appalling A6(M) was planned in the 1980s as a full motorway completely out of proportion to the fields, woods and communities of south-east Stockport through which it would have been bulldozed. Only connecting bits at Junction 25 were built.
The M60 ring road did not exist back in 1988 when the A6(M) was approved. Something called the M63 reached Brinnington from Stockport and the west in 1989. The mess of Junction 25 now enters the story. It was never intended to be the south-eastern corner of a ring road; the junction was designed as a motorway cross-roads. The unbuilt A6(M) was supposed to continue north as the M66 while the M63 would head east, parallel to Stockport Road East (see 1980s plan, modified for attempted clarity).
The M63’s eastern arm was the first to drop off the plan (see the 1990s illustration). On the motorway bend, both sides of the present M60 are little more than feeders into the dominant A6(M) – which was planned to take off and land in the centre of the M63/M66. A couple of points illustrate the megalomaniac idiocy of the A6(M): 1. It was elevated from south of Stockport Road West like a giant concrete albatross flying over Lower Bredbury; 2. The northbound entry from the left looks scary with three roads converging in one place and visibility from the then M63 obscured by a pier of Lingard Lane Bridge.
When the A6(M) followed M63East into the waste bin, a single motorway was left with a lethally sharp bend. A series of accidents have resulted at the renumbered Junction 25. There’s now a 50mph limit. While the sharp bend is the killer, the nortbound slip road’s position in the middle of the motorway is more alarming for drivers.
Junction 25 has a terrible twin – Junction 26 east of Portwood. “The Bredbury Scissors” have been patchcocked together in an amazing way to provide additional access to the motorway. Stockport motorists have learnt how Junction 26 works but, according to the knowledgable website Pathetic Motorways, “it’s one of the scariest junctions there is.”
The road plan resuscitated
By the time the M63 now M60 became a complete Manchester ring road at the end of the 1990s, the A6(M) should have been decently forgotten. Instead it soon reemerged as a non-motorway dual carriageway proposal.
The A6-M60 Bypass, the A6-Airport Road and the Poynton Bypass were proposed in 2003 as a single package. Now that (in autumn 2018) the Airport Road is complete and the Poynton Bypass is moving forward, Stockport Council sees the A6-M60 Bypass as unfinished business.
Obstacles at Junction 25
Any attempt to construct the A6-M60 Bypass will have to overcome the A6(M)’s legacy at Junction 25 (see Bypass plan above). The Bypass plan attempts two improvements: the northbound slip road moves to the offside lane while the particularly sharp southbound bend is softened a little.
But the northbound bend is increased. Also, the relocated slip road would descend across the bend. This would breach regulations by obscuring drivers’ sight lines on the main carriageway as they approach the junction (see bottom illustration with sight lines marked in blue). The problem was ignored by the authors of the Bypass plan in much the same way as the designers of the existing Junction 25 closed their eyes to the shambles they were creating.
Another challenge for the Bypass planners is the redesign of the Crookilley Way roundabout at Junction 25. If the Bypass were ever to be built, the roundabout would have to accommodate much heavier traffic and feed it into the motorway northwards via a new bridge across both carriageways. The current proposal is for a roundabout with 17 sets of traffic lights. Another option is even more complicated with the roundabout on two levels.
Tragicomic Junction 25 and unbuilt A6(M) are a disaster. Yes, maybe J25 should be fixed, but it would be hugely disruptive. No, we don’t need another destructive folly in the form of the A6-M60 Bypass.