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 West

M67 Hyde By-pass and Denton Relief Road

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The A57 Trunk Road from Denton to Mottram-in-Longendale had been seen to be in need of improvement for many years and proposals for its upgrading go back to the inter-War period. In 1965 the Ministry of Transport asked Sir William Halcrow & Partners to report on a route selected by the County Surveyor of Cheshire and this led, in stages, to the development of the design to partial urban and partial rural motorway standards. Its place in the system of motorways around Manchester is that of a radial route in an easterly direction from the Manchester Outer Ring Road, to which it would eventually be connected via the proposed Denton Relief Road. It was the intention that, in due course, the motorway would be extended as an improved route through to Sheffield.

Hyde By-pass

The 3 mile long Hyde By-pass section of dual three-lane motorway, M67, was the first part to be constructed.

From a grade-separated junction with Manchester Road, Denton, it was to pass through a mainly urban area, to the junction of the A57 and the A560 near Mottram. The horizontal alignment was severely constrained by buildings of industrial or social importance and by reservoirs at Godley. A grade separated split-diamond interchange was to be provided to give access to Hyde town centre.

The existing ground to be traversed by the By-pass falls from its eastern end, for some 2 miles at a gradient of 1 in 30. The line crossed several narrow, 30 to 50 feet deep steep-sided valleys, in addition to that of the River Tame.

The site investigation indicated the presence of boulder clay and some alluvium in the Tame valley.

The designed profile for the By-pass required a 20 feet deep cutting at the western end and embankments with a maximum height of 45 feet at the River crossing. Elsewhere it was to be predominantly in cutting with a maximum depth of 50 feet where the By-pass was to pass under the Manchester-Sheffield Railway Line.

It was estimated that approximately one half of the excavated material would be suitable for embankment construction.

Although no active mining now takes place in the area it was known that some was carried out within living memory and mineworking investigations and treatment, where necessary, were to be included in the Contract. These included the filling of a known shaft to a drift mine, just east of the River Tame and the location of a suspected mineshaft on the centre line of the motorway.

Before work on the high embankments was to be allowed to commence, a 2 feet thick layer of granular material was to be laid as a starter layer. A 6 month waiting period was to be included in the Contract to allow for initial settlement and dissipation of pore pressures, after the first stage fill had been placed.

The By-pass required the construction of eight bridges. The most significant is that over the River Tame. Supported on reinforced concrete columns founded on cast in-situ bored piles, continuous steel girders carry a composite deck over three spans of 74 feet, 105 feet and 74 feet.

The design and supervision of the two railway bridges over the By-pass was undertaken by British Rail.

Two pedestrian sub-ways and two culverts of reinforced concrete box construction were also required. To minimise the land-take in the urban area, substantial lengths of retaining wall up to a maximum height of almost 40 feet were constructed in the cuttings.

The existing navigable Peak Forest Canal had to be diverted through a new 360 feet long reinforced concrete channel, and culverted under the By-pass.

Construction work began in May 1975, with a series of advance contracts followed by a Main Contract. Due to the difficulties encountered in working within the urban area, requiring major service diversions, the By-pass was not completed and opened to traffic until March 1978.

Denton Relief Road

Meanwhile, work had begun on the construction of the Denton Relief Road, M67, the westwards extension of the Hyde By-pass.

Passing through the heavily built-up centre of the town of Denton, the 1½ mile length of dual three-lane carriageway section of motorway deviates to the north, away from the A57. Mainly in cutting to a maximum depth of 30 feet, it is then carried on embankment to be almost coincident with the A57, before passing over the Heaton Norris-Guide Bridge Railway Line. Slip roads continue westwards to join the split dual carriageway of the A57.

A two directional grade separated interchange serves the town centre. Of the 650,000 cubic yards of excavated boulder clay to be taken from the cutting, only 90,000 cubic yards was required as filling to embankments.

Seven bridges were required and high retaining walls were provided to support the faces of both the cuttings and embankments.

The bridge at Denton Station has four separate decks carrying, the motorway, two slip roads, and one carriageway of the diverted A57, over the railway.

A main 33 inch diameter outfall drain 1000 yards long was laid under an advance works contract, which was completed in 1975. Major water mains up to a maximum diameter of 36 inches were diverted, in advance, prior to relaying on the bridges over the motorway.

Work on the main Contract began in July 1978.

Similar difficulties to those experienced in the construction of Hyde By-pass had the effect of delaying the opening of the Relief Road until September 1981.

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