M62 motorway

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The M62 is a west–east trans-Pennine motorway connecting Liverpool and Hull via Manchester and Leeds. The road is 107 miles long and for seven miles shares its route with the M60 orbital motorway around Manchester.

The motorway, which was first proposed in the 1930s, and conceived as two separate routes, was opened in stages between 1971 and 1976, with construction beginning at Pole Moor and finishing at that time in Tarbock on the outskirts of Liverpool. The motorway absorbed the northern end of the Stretford-Eccles bypass, which was built between 1957 and 1960. Adjusted for inflation to 2007, its construction cost approximately £765 million.

The motorway is notable for Stott Hall Farm, a Pennine farm situated between the carriageways that has become one of the best-known sights on the motorway. The M62 has no junctions numbered 1, 2, or 3 (or even an officially numbered 4), because it was intended to start in Liverpool proper, not on its outskirts.

The road passes the cities of Salford, Manchester, Bradford and Leeds. Between Liverpool and Manchester, and east of Leeds, the terrain along which the road passes is relatively flat. Between Manchester and Leeds it traverses the Pennines and its foothills, rising to 1,221 ft above sea level east of junction 22, not far from the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire.


The motorway's origins date to the 1930s, when the need for a route between Lancashire and Yorkshire had been agreed after discussion by their county highway authorities.[1][2] At the same time, it was envisaged that a route between Liverpool and Hull was needed to connect the ports to industrial Yorkshire.[3]

After the Second World War, the Minister of Transport appointed engineers to inspect road standards between the A580 road (East Lancashire Road) in Swinton and the A1 road near Selby.[3] The 1949 Road Plan for South Lancashire identified the need to upgrade the A580 to dual carriageway with grade separation and provide bypasses at Huyton and Cadishead.[4] In 1952, the route for a trans-Pennine motorway, the Lancashire–Yorkshire Motorway, was laid down, with Ferrybridge at the eastern terminus rather than Selby.[3] By the 1960s the proposed A580 upgrade to dual carriageway was considered inadequate, and there was an urgent need to link Liverpool to the motorway network.[4] The route of the Lancashire-Yorkshire motorway was considered inadequate as it failed to cater for several industrial towns in Yorkshire.[3] When James Drake visited the United States in 1962, his experience of the Interstate Highway System led him to conclude that the Merseyside Expressway, planned to run between Liverpool and the M6, would need to be extended to the Stretford-Eccles Bypass and beyond, to create a continuous motorway between Liverpool and Ferrybridge (a link between Ferrybridge and Hull was not considered until 1964).[5] Initially the plans were unpopular and not supported by theMinistry of Transport, but the scheme was added to the Road Plan in 1963.[4]


Liverpool to Worsley

It was the intention to build an urban motorway in Liverpool.[6] The M62 was intended to terminate at Liverpool's Inner Motorway which was not built. The proposed route would have followed the railway into Liverpool as far as Edge Hill, with junctions at Rathbone Road and Durning Road where it would drop to two lanes before terminating at the Islington Radial.[7] The section between Tarbock and Liverpool was the last to be completed in 1976 because of difficulties building the urban motorway. In total, two viaducts, ten bridges and seven underpasses were constructed to secure the structural integrity of the surrounding residential areas. The motorway was constructed only as far as Queens Drive (junction 4).[4]

The section west of Manchester was intended to be a separate motorway, the M52 to link Liverpool and Salford, but a continuous motorway between Leeds and Liverpool was deemed more feasible,[8][9] Construction between Liverpool and Manchester started in 1971, with the construction of a link between the M57 and M6 motorways.[4] Concurrently, a contract to link the M6 with Manchester was under way, which required the removal of unsuitable material and land drainage. This section was completed in August 1974, creating a continuous link between Ferrybridge and Tarbock.

Around Manchester

Construction starting in Milnrow, 1968

Two motorways were planned, the M52 from Liverpool to Salford and the M62 to link Pole Moor with the Stretford–Eccles Bypass.[8] The first part of the M62 to be built was the Stretford–Eccles Bypass, which is now the section between Junctions 7 to 13 of the M60.[10] Construction started in 1957, and the motorway opened in 1960. It was originally built as a 2-lane motorway only. It was later re-numbered M63 motorway.[11] The section between the interchange with the Stretford-Eccles Bypass and Salford is now occupied by the M602 motorway.

The Eccles–Pole Moor section opened in 1971.[12][13] Between Eccles and Pole Moor, 67 motorway crossings were required, including seven viaducts and eight junctions.[2] Much of the Worsley Braided Interchange was built on undeveloped mossland where deep peat deposits had been covered with waste. Between Worsley and Milnrow, some underlying coal seams were still actively worked when the motorway was constructed and allowances had to be made to counteract possible future subsidence.[14] The motorway crosses the Irwell Valley and the Pendleton fault[15] on a 200 ft single-span bridge 65 ft above the River Irwell.[16]

Milnrow to Outlane

M62 J22, the highest point on the motorway as seen from the Pennine Way

Surveying for the Pennine section began in November 1961 and its route was determined in July 1963.[17] Construction between Windy Hill and Pole Moor was difficult through inhospitable hilly terrain, peat bogs, and in undesirable weather conditions. The motorway's highest point, 1,221 ft above sea level at Windy Hill near Saddleworth Moor is the highest point of any motorway in England.[18]

A notable structure between junctions 21 and 22 on the uphill section towards Windy Hill is the Rakewood Viaduct which carries the road over the Longden End Brook.[19]

The first section of the motorway in Yorkshire was completed between the county boundary at Windy Hill and Outlane in 1970.[1][20] To build this section, 12,000,000 cu. yds of material was moved, 8,000,000 cu. yds of which was solid rock and 650,000 cu. yds of peat which had to be cut from the rock strata and deposited on adjacent hillsides. The geology of the moors resulted in the engineers splitting the carriageways for ¾ mile in the middle of this section, sparing Stott Hall Farm from demolition.[20][21]

The motorway crosses Scammonden Dam on an embankment between junctions 22 and 23. Preparatory work in the Deanhead Valley began in August 1964 and the dam in 1966. The motorway's opening on 20 December 1970 was dependent on completion of the dam.[22] Two other notable constructions on the Pennine section are the pedestrian bridge carrying the Pennine Way, which is curved downwards with 85-ft-long cantilevers, and Scammonden Bridge, the longest single-span non-suspension bridge in the world when it was built.[23][24] It carries a B road 120 ft above the motorway.[20] The mile-long section between Pole Moor and Outlane suffered fewer problems as the summer weather was satisfactory.[25]

Southerly view from Booth Moor, of the M62 motorway from Scammonden Bridge to Windy Hill. Stott Hall Farm can be seen between the east and westbound carriageways

Outlane to Lofthouse

The section of the motorway between Gildersome and Lofthouse was built at the same time,[1] resulting in the demolition of a significant proportion of the village of Tingley to build the eponymous interchange.

East of Lofthouse

Two contracts were awarded for the section between Lofthouse and Ferrybridge in 1972, and both were completed in 1974.[26][27] On the first contract, care was needed at the River Calder crossing due to the alluvial bedrock. On the second contract precautions were taken as the length was built on old coal mine workings.

The Ouse bridge, from the floodplain adjacent to the river

The section between Ferrybridge and North Cave was the last to be planned[5] and built.[12] The Ouse Bridge, across the River Ouse west of Goole, commenced in January 1973 and is nearly a mile long and rises to 98.4 ft above ground level. Completion of the bridge was delayed due to "steel supplies [being] a chronic headache"[28] and a partial collapse of the framework caused by bolts joining a cross-beam to a trestle shearing.[5] Problems with the bridge delayed the opening of the section east of Goole to May 1976.[5][12]

Development after opening

Junction 32a during construction in September 2005

In 1987, the Department of Transport proposed a parallel relief road to combat congestion around Manchester. It would have been restricted to long distance traffic, and the current route, part of the Manchester Outer Ring Road (later the M60), used for local traffic. The proposal suggested the closure of junction 13. The proposal was designated a "long term" improvement in 1994, and cancelled on 23 November 1995.[29]

In 2000, the section between Eccles Interchange and Simister Interchange (junctions 12 to 18) was designated the M60.[30] Since then, two junctions were opened—in December 2002, the missing junction 8 was opened to allow access to the A574 and the Omega Development Site,[31] while in January 2006, junction 32a was opened to link to the upgraded A1(M).[32] The UK's first motorway high-occupancy vehicle lane was opened at junction 26 in 2008 for eastbound traffic from the M606 with more than one occupant.[33]

High traffic levels

1999–2006 traffic flow graph

The section between Halifax and Gildersome is one of the most congested roads in Britain,[34] and regularly slows to gridlock at junction 27.[35]

Annual average daily traffic flows of 100,000 cars were recorded east of the Pennines (junction 22) in 2006 and 78,000 cars west of the Pennines.[36] The figures were increases from 90,000 and 70,000 respectively in 1999.[37] By way of comparison, the UK's busiest motorway, the M25 carried 144,000 cars between junctions 7 and 23 in 2006.[36]

Proposed developments

M62 J25 to J30 managed motorway

Before 2009 there were proposals in place to widen the M62 between junctions 25 and 28 to four lanes. In January 2009 the schemes were withdrawn and replaced by a wider project to install hard shoulder running and a managed motorway system between junctions 25 and 30.[38]

Stott Hall Farm

Stott Hall Farm, viewed from moorland above westbound carriageway

The 18th-century Stott Hall Farm on Moss Moor, above Booth Wood Reservoir is situated between the carriageways between junctions 22 and 23.[21][39][40] The road divides for much of its length between the Windy Hill and Deanhead cuttings because of surrounding geology but a local myth persists that it was split because the owners refused to sell the land.[21] The farm has been nicknamed the Little House on the Prairie by CB radio users and Sally Boazman, BBC Radio 2's traffic reporter. The farm is separated from the motorway by crash barriers and a high fence to keep livestock in and prevent out-of-control vehicles crashing onto the property.[21][41] The farm was occupied by Ken and Beth Wild at the time of the motorway's opening.[39] It is one of the ten best-known sights on the motorway network[42] and in western Yorkshire.[41] It has been the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary and a short documentary film.[43]

In 2008 owner Paul Thorp was beset with pleas from the drivers of vehicles who had broken down: "People running out of petrol; coming and wanting to buy petrol and diesel; wanting to borrow spanners and jacks and to use the telephone".[44]


The M62's route in relation to the four major cities it serves: Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull

In addition to passing Warrington, Manchester, Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, the towns of Huyton, St Helens, Widnes, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Dewsbury, Pontefract, Selby and Goole are designated primary destinations along the road. The M62 is a terminus to two motorways: the M57 near Prescot and the M18 near Rawcliffe; and has four spur routes: the M602, which serves Manchester, the A627(M), which serves Oldham and Rochdale, the M606, which serves Bradford, and the M621, which serves Leeds. Despite Hull being listed as a primary destination,[45] the motorway downgrades near North Cave, 16 miles to the west.[1][46] The motorway starts at Queen's Drive, on Liverpool's middle ring road from where it runs eastward to the outer ring road, the M57. The route has four exits for Warrington: junction 7, an interchange with the A57 road, junction 8, which also houses IKEA,[47] Junction 9, which interchanges with the A49 road, which was intended to be a motorway,[48] and junction 11. Between these is junction 10, which is a cloverstack interchange with the M6. The M62 crosses Chat Moss before interchanging with the M60 motorway.[49] Owing to the original plan to extend this section of the motorway into Manchester, motorists must turn off to stay on (TOTSO) the route into Yorkshire.

The M62 near Irlam, the original eastern terminus, in the early hours of the morning

Around Manchester, the motorway shares seven junctions, 12 to 18, with the M60 motorway. Junction 13, signposted Swinton, is situated ½ mile from junction 12, leaving exiting motorists the hazard of crossing the still-merging M62 traffic.[50] Worsley Braided Interchange serves Junctions 14 and 15 and Junctions 1 to 3 of the M61 which terminates to Preston.

The M62 passes Scammonden Water in Yorkshire.

Between junction 21 and junction 22, the motorway has four lanes eastbound to climb Windy Hill,[51] before crossing the border into Yorkshire and interchanging with the rural A672 road, reaching the highest point of any motorway in England 1,221 ft.[18] There is then a seven-mile travel through the Pennines to the next junction, passing Scammonden Water and Stott Hall Farm. The next junction is 23, which is accessible only for westbound traffic. After this, the road dips through a valley to junction 24[52] and drops slowly before interchanging with the A644 road at junction 25.[53]

At junction 26, Chain Bar, the motorway interchanges with several roads: the M606 motorway, a spur into Bradford, the A58 road, which runs between Prescot and Wetherby, and the A638 road, which runs to Doncaster, then follows the old route of the A1 through Bawtry and Retford, to Markham Moor where it rejoins the A1. The next junction also serves a spur route: the M621 motorway, before bypassing Leeds to the south to the interchange with the M1 motorway, Lofthouse Interchange, at junction 29. East of Leeds, the motorway serves Wakefield at junction 30 and crosses by the River Calder. At junction 32a, the road is crossed by the A1(M) motorway, which also runs parallel to it for a short distance. The next junction serves the A162 road, previously the A1, and Ferrybridge service station. After Ferrybridge, the motorway becomes relatively flat, except for a mile-long bridge that crosses the River Ouse. For approximately ten miles after this, the road runs towards Hull, serving Howden and North Cave, before downgrading to the A63 road.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[54][55]

M62 motorway
Mile Westbound exits Junction Eastbound exits
A5080 from Liverpool becomes M62
No access Start of motorway
A5080: Huyton, Knotty Ash 5 A5080: Huyton, Knotty Ash, Liverpool (E & C)
7.9 A5300: Liverpool John Lennon Airport
A5080: Huyton
M57: Southport
6 M57: Prescot
A5300: Runcorn
10.2 A57: Prescot 7 A57: Warrington (NW)
14.5 (A574): Warrington (West), Burtonwood,
Burtonwood services
(A574): Warrington (West), Burtonwood,
Burtonwood services
16.6 A49: Warrington (Central), Newton 9 A49: Warrington (Central), Newton
18.1 M6: The North: Preston, Lancaster, The Lakes, Bolton, (M61), Blackburn (M65) The South: Birmingham, (M56), Manchester Airport, Manchester (South), Warrington (W, S & C), 10 M6: Preston, Birmingham, Manchester Airport
20.7 A574: Warrington (East), Birchwood 11 A574: Warrington (East), Birchwood
26.9 M62 leaves concurrency with M60 12 M60: Ring Road, Bolton, Bury, Leeds
M602: Salford, Manchester
Motorway is signposted M60 from junctions 12 to 18 (see original route)
35.1 M60: Ring Road
M66: Bury, Blackburn
18 M62 leaves concurrency with M60
37.8 Birch services Services Birch services
40.1 A6046: Heywood, Middleton 19 A6046: Middleton, Heywood
42.5 A627(M): Rochdale, Oldham 20 A627(M): Rochdale, Oldham
43.7 A640: Milnrow, Shaw 21 A640: Milnrow, Shaw
46.8 A672: Saddleworth 22 A672: Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge (A58): Halifax
54.0 No access 23 A640: Huddersfield (West)
55.5 A629: Huddersfield (Central), Halifax, Sheffield 24 A629: Huddersfield (Central), Halifax, Sheffield
59.1 A644: Brighouse, Halifax, (A62): Huddersfield (East) 25 A644: Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury
60.6 Hartshead Moor services Services Hartshead Moor services
62.5 M606: Bradford
A58: Halifax
26 M606: Bradford
A638: Cleckheaton
66.5 M621: Leeds
A62: Bradford
27 M621: Leeds
A62: Batley
A650: Morley
69.7 A653: Leeds, Dewsbury, Leeds Bradford International Airport 28 A653: Leeds, Dewsbury, Leeds Bradford International Airport
72.3 M1: London, Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield 29 M1: The North: (M621): Leeds (Centre), The South: London, Wakefield, Sheffield, (M18), Rotherham
A642: Rothwell, Wakefield, Garforth 30 A642: Rothwell, Wakefield, Garforth
77.7 A655: Normanton, Castleford 31 A655: Normanton, Castleford
80.5 A639: Pontefract, Castleford 32 A639: Pontefract, Castleford
A1(M): The North, Wetherby 32A A1(M): The North, Wetherby
The South, Doncaster
84.7 A162: The South, Doncaster (A1)
Ferrybridge services
A162: Knottingley, Ferrybridge
Ferrybridge services
A19: Selby, Doncaster 34 A19: Selby, Doncaster
M18: The South, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, London 35 M18: The South, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, (M180) Sheffield, London, (M1)
A614: Goole 36 A614: Goole
A614: Howden 37 A614: Howden, Bridlington
Start of motorway 38 B1230: North Cave, Gilberdyke
Motorway becomes A63 and continues into Hull


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  54. M62 Network Schematic showing extents of the Driver Location Signs Scheme within Area 12, Highway Authority 2009
  55. Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (map) – Highway Authority, 2009


  • Johnson, E.Peter (1972), The Trans-Pennine Motorway M62, Dalesman, ISBN 0-85206-161-7 

Outside links

Motorways in the United Kingdom

Great Britain: M1  • M2  • M3  • M4  • M5  • M6  • M6 Toll  • M8  • M9  • M10  • M11  • M18  • M20  • M23  • M25  • M26  • M27  • M32  • M40  • M42  • M45  • M48  • M49  • M50  • M53  • M54  • M55  • M56  • M57  • M58  • M60  • M61  • M62  • M63  • M65  • M66  • M67  • M69  • M73  • M74  • M77  • M80  • M85  • M90  • M180  • M181  • M271  • M275  • M602  • M606  • M621  • M876  • M898  • Sections of A road: A1(M)

Former motorways marked in italics

Northern Ireland: M1  • M2  • M3  • M5  • M12  • M22