The M66 starts at the Simister Island, and heads north as a continuation of the M60 as a three-lane dual carriageway. It passes the eastern edge of Whitefield, through junction 3, goes underneath the East Lancashire Railway and enters the suburbs of Bury. It reduces to two lanes at junction 2 and then climbs onto an elevated section, passing through a post-war housing estate. At the end of the elevated road a third climbing lane is added to the summit of the hill. The road then runs to the east of Ramsbottom and the East Lancashire Railway and ends near Edenfield.
In 1949 a report, the Road Plan for Lancashire, proposed the construction of Route 9 which would link north east Manchester with Burnley and Blackburn via Route 8. Originally planned to be an all-purpose road. the route was redesignated as a motorway prior to construction. The first section (the so-called Middleton Link) was opened in 1971. On the Department for Transport's 2002 Roads List this link is listed as the M68. Construction then began on the southern section of the Bury bypass (Junctions 4 to 3) in February 1973 with this opening in August 1975. Immediately after construction began on the northern section (junctions 3 to terminus) with this opening in 1978.
The motorway was planned to run down to Stockport where it would meet the M63 and the proposed A6(M) motorway. The first part of this built was the section from the M67 to the M63 (now junctions 24 to 27 of the M60) with construction beginning in 1986 and it opening to traffic in 1989.
The final section of the motorway was to be between the M67 and the Middleton Link. Construction began on this in 1995. In 1998 it was decided to renumber various sections of motorway (parts of the M62 and M66 and the whole of the M63) around Manchester to the M60 to form the Manchester Outer Ring Road. All sections of the M66 south of the M62 were therefore redesignated as the M60. This final section subsequently opened in 2000.
North of the M66, the road was built as the A56, an all-purpose A road which connects with the M65 at junction 8.
|Northbound exits||Junction||Southbound exits|
| Road continues as A56 to Rawtenstall,
Blackburn and Burnley (M65)
| Ramsbottom A676|
|No exit||Start of motorway|
|Ramsbottom, Bury (North) A56||J1||No exit|
|Bury, Heywood A58||J2||Bury, Heywood A58|
|Radcliffe, Heywood||J3||Radcliffe, Whitefield|
|Start of motorway||J4
| Manchester (North & West), Airport, Liverpool M60 |
| Manchester (North & West), Liverpool M60
|Road continues as M60 to Stockport & Oldham|
- CBRD Motorway Database – M66
- Lancashire County Council Historic Highways – Road Plan for Lancashire 1949 Map
- The Motorway Archive – M66 Middleton Link
- The Motorway Archive – M66 Dates
- The Motorway Archive – M66 (now M60) Portwood to Denton
- The Motorway Archive – M66 (now M60) Portwood to Denton Dates
- Lancashire County Council Historic Highways – Road Plan for Lancashire 1949
- The Motorway Archive – M66
|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