The Motorway Archive
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What is the Motorway Archive?
Work on developing the UK Motorway system, which transformed British travel, started in the mid-1950s. The Motorway Archive celebrates the engineering achievement involved in the conception, planning, design and construction of this transport network by thousands of dedicated professionals. The Archive itself is a collection of as many of the documents and artefacts, which were associated with the development, as it has been possible to find. From this wealth of material has come the story of each motorway developed in Britain over the last 50 years. This is the story of one of them.

Region: North East

Bradford South Radial Motorway (M606)

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The realignment of the M62 nearer to Bradford and Leeds presented an opportunity to provide a direct connection from the City to the motorway. Alternatives were examined, but the logical connection was thought to be a new road following one of several 100ft improvement lines included on the City's Development Plan. This extended southwards, through the green belt, from the City's Ring Road (now A6177) towards Chain Bar, the intersection of A58 and the A638 to Dewsbury.

A scheme between the Ring Road and the City Boundary was designed and approved by the City Council in 1964. The route was called "The Bradford South Radial Motorway". The outline scheme also extended from the Ring Road, through the City Centre and northwards as the "Bradford North Radial Motorway", on the same reserved improvement line. There had been development on the line, and a small section had already been built in the 50's as dual carriageway. Unfortunately, the reserved width was insufficient to allow the provision of service roads, and a full motorway scheme would have involved substantial property demolition and was never built.

Chain Bar interchange

The motorway (M606) was designed by the Highways Department of the Bradford Corporation. During the design process, there was close liaison with the West Riding County Council engineers which proved fruitful, and they were able to design an interchange at Chain Bar which provided free-flow facilities for traffic heading towards Bradford from the south. The design work only extended as far as the City boundary, since the City Engineer would not have taken kindly to county engineers designing anything on his "patch". This was to surface in the 1986 re-organisation of local government when he resisted the County's proposals for integration of County and District highway functions.

The M606 motorway contract was awarded to A Monk & Co Ltd. work starting in June 1971 and completed in May 1973, at a cost of just over 2 million. Largely constructed on embankment the features of the scheme were the interchange with the Bradford Ring Road and the provision of slip roads to provide access to the development of the Euroway Industrial Trading Estate.

In 1974 the maintenance of this section of motorway came under the Directorate of Engineering of the West Yorkshire MCC. Several "holes" opened up on this section of motorway in its early life due to the collapse of old mining shafts. Extensive drilling was carried out to investigate the extent of these old shafts and a contract let for the filling and capping of identified shafts.

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