Region: North West
M602. Eccles By-pass and extension to SalfordINDEX TO SECTIONS
East of Warrington, the A57 is a County road and passes through the centre of the Borough of Eccles, to the boundary with the City of Salford. The 1949 Road Plan for Lancashire included a proposal for improving the road in the Borough to a dual two-lane standard, but it was recognised that this would require extensive property demolition.
In the early 1960's, it was considered that it would be preferable to by-pass the town centre as an extension of the proposed South Lancashire section of the M62, and that this should be designed as a motorway. As an alternative route for traffic using the A57, it was to be a County road for which the County Council would be responsible.
The alignment of the proposed dual three-lane By-pass, which is 1¾ miles long, was largely determined by the locations of the junctions at each end, and the requirements for the future extension of the motorway eastwards through Salford. At the western of the By-pass, the location of the Eccles Interchange with Stretford-Eccles By-pass was fixed within small limits, since it had to be north of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway Line to avoid an Eccles Corporation housing site, which extends up to the south side of the railway.
Any northward movement of the Interchange was impracticable because of the close proximity of the Worsley Court House Junction on M62. Because of the heavy volumes of turning traffic anticipated at the Interchange, it is of free-flow type with traffic joining the main motorway after outgoing traffic has left it. Although the Interchange took up some 69 acres of land, the area required was to be kept to the minimum possible.
Towards the eastern end, the By-pass was located immediately on the north side of the Manchester-Liverpool railway which reduced severance and provided the most suitable location for a roundabout with links to the existing A57 and A576 near the Salford City Boundary. This location was confirmed by the agreement of the City Council, a highway authority in its own right, to continue the line into Salford along the north side of the railway. The roundabout was well placed for distributing traffic leaving the By-pass on to A57, and A576, in addition to providing a direct connection between the By-pass and Eccles Town Centre.
Between the two extremities, the route chosen for the By-pass took advantage of the existence of semi-derelict land between existing development, where very little modern property was affected, and of the 353 houses which had to be demolished for the By-pass, 293 were constructed before 1914. In addition, two churches, 47 shops, two public houses and a small number of other premises would have to be demolished.
At its eastern end, the By-pass would be in cutting at about the same level as the railway line, in order to interfere as little as possible with the amenity of the area. To the west of Wellington Road, however, the motorway had to be raised above ground to provide headroom over the Bridgewater Canal and side roads, and extensive embankments would be required.
There was considerable opposition when the length through Eccles was disclosed, but after the County Surveyor had explained the proposals to a special meeting of the Eccles Borough Council's General Purposes Committee in July 1962, the Borough Council approved them in October 1962.
At the time, concern was expressed about the difficulties which would be experienced by the owners of properties affected by the scheme in the period prior to its implementation, particularly in regard to houses. In December 1962, the County Highways and Bridges Committee agreed that the County Council would purchase any properties affected by the scheme, which were offered to the County Council. This enabled property owners to make arrangements for alternative accommodation, as and when suitable premises came on to the market.
Some 214 houses, nine plots of land, six lock-up shops, five shops with living accommodation, two factories nine flats and eight other properties were purchased by the County Council under this arrangement. Largely as a result of this, there were only nine objections to the Compulsory Purchase Order when it was advertised in September 1967, following on the scheme being admitted to the then Ministry of Transport's Principal Road Programme in 1966. A Public Inquiry into these objections was held in March 1968 and the Order was confirmed in October of that year.
The layout for the By-pass provided for dual 36 feet wide carriageways, two 8 feet 4 inch wide hard shoulders, two 6 feet wide verges, and a 13 feet 8 inch wide central reserve. Additionally, an 8 inch wide edge line was to be provided along each side of the dual carriageways.
The detailed design was in hand before any standards had been laid down by the Ministry of Transport for the layout of motorways in urban areas, and the central reserve and hard shoulders were to be wider than the later urban standard.
The entire route of the motorway overlies rock which is covered by glacial and post-glacial deposits, and an extensive soil survey showed that the area covered by the Interchange is sited on a deep pre-glacial valley which deepens considerably towards the west. The glacial valley is filled with a deep deposit of lacustrine clay overlaid by boulder clay, with thin deposits of sand and gravel. Overlying this was a poor clay of exceptionally low shear strength, which for the greater part of the Interchange was overlain by a band of sand and gravel, with the water table only about 18 inches below ground level.
As the Interchange is wholly on embankment, rising to a height of over 30 feet, it was necessary where the poor clay outcropped at ground level, to completely excavate this material and refill with rock excavation, a total of 50,000 cubic yards being involved.
Where there was sufficient depth of sand overlying the poor clay, it was found impossible to build a stable embankment by using filling material having low density and certain physical properties, and these requirements were met by the use of unburnt colliery shale and pulverised fuel ash, of which over 1 million cubic yards were used as filling on the Interchange alone. Where the embankments were at maximum height, they were formed entirely of pulverised fuel ash.
As the motorway extends eastwards from the Interchange the underlying rock is Manchester marl, with occasional bands of limestone, overlying which is stiff boulder clay varying from 10 to 30 feet in thickness. For the last half mile at the easterly end of the motorway, the red bunter sandstone outcrops near ground level. The length of motorway was balanced between cut and fill, the eastern end being the section in cutting and of the 450,000 cubic yards of material which was suitable for re-use, about half was the bunter sandstone.
Unsuitable excavated materials from cuttings and below embankments were deposited within the boundaries of the Interchange and elsewhere, for landscaping purposes.
The severance of side roads by the motorway in the By-pass necessitated the construction of major foul sewer diversions, the most important of which was the main foul sewer for Eccles. This crosses the line of the motorway at the point where the cutting in sandstone is at its deepest, and this diversion required the construction of 1000 feet of 54 inch diameter tunnel at depths up to 40 feet. The tunnel is lined with precast concrete segments and passes under the Manchester-Preston railway line. On a section of the tunnel adjacent to the Parish Church, dating back to the 12th Century, the use of explosives as a means of excavation in the sandstone was prohibited, and hand excavation had to be resorted to.
A total of 26 bridges were required, including seven in the Interchange with the Stretford-Eccles By-pass. Future mining subsidence was expected in this area and jacking facilities were provided in the decks.
One of the most significant structures is the Regent Railway Bridge which carries the link road from A57 Regent Street to the By-pass over the railway near Eccles Station and is a single span bridge varying in width from 87 feet to 143 feet, comprising Preflex steel beams encased in concrete with spans up to 79 feet.
In addition to bridges a large number of retaining walls has been involved, varying in length up to 2500 feet and in height up to 30 feet. These are generally of reinforced concrete cantilever construction, and some lengths are on piled foundations.
Special treatment has been given to the exposed face of the concrete wing walls to some of the overbridges and retaining walls, by facing with precast concrete blocks, whilst the faces of other bridges and retaining walls have been treated with coloured textured 'Pyrok' or 'Ceramitex'. The colours of the mosaic tiling used on the subways to the roundabouts at the eastern end of the By-pass were chosen in consultation with the Borough Surveyor of Eccles.
As an Advance Works Contract, Thirlmere Aqueduct bridge was built over the Stretford-Eccles By-pass M63 to carry the diverted water mains of Manchester Corporation in the Interchange area.
Work began on the Main Contract which included not only the construction of the By-pass but also the whole of the Eccles Interchange, with the exception of the surfacing of the carriageways which would later connect into the South Lancashire section of the M62.
Although the site of the Interchange was rural in character, the operations in its construction around the heavily trafficked motorway, M63, were governed by the over-riding necessity for the traffic flow to be unimpeded.
The necessity for road and pedestrian traffic to be maintained throughout the construction of the roadworks was another difficult problem for the Contractor. This was particularly so because of the line of the By-pass being crossed by nine north-south roads in a heavily built up area and the large number of bridges to be built.
This involved close integration of bridgeworks relative to excavation of the cuttings in the By-pass, to comply with the detailed requirements of the Contract. These specified the extent of road diversions to be completed before closing existing sections and also certain crossings over the By-pass which had to be kept open at all times.
A further requirement was for the site to be used by construction traffic wherever possible, and for the use of existing roads to be kept to a minimum. For example, the Contractor constructed a temporary retractable bridge across the Bridgewater Canal, thus enabling heavy earth-moving plant to be used for the haulage of bulk excavation.
When the By-pass was opened to traffic in November 1971, it was the first truly urban motorway to be built within the Administrative County of Lancashire, and its construction presented many problems not normally associated with rural motorways. For example, within a length of 11/2 miles of the By-pass, there were no less than 13 separate side road diversions.