M6 Junction 20

2nd southbound sign at junction 20

Junction 20 opened up on 3rd November 1963 as a junction with the A50 and the main northbound junction for Warrington. The A50 had before the opening of the M6 been part of the western alternative to the A6 for traffic going south from Preston to London and Birmingham, as a result it was a very busy road. However from this junction southward it was relegated to a back road, even today its traffic levels are no busier than a 'B' road.

The junction was similar to junction 21 in that it is a double roundabout junction with the A50 passing over the M6 adjoining the two roundabouts What has always intrigued me about this junction is that southbound this junction is signed for Macclesfield a route that takes the driver through Knutsford, Junction 19 is signed for Knutsford, one of those anomalies that happens from time to time. In the early days the junction was as is shown below:-

 

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Junction 20 was in an important geographical location, being just southwest of Manchester and west of Chester it was logical that these two important centre's be at some stage be joined by a motorway, this motorway the M56 was started with 2 small bypasses in the early 1970's. By 1974 the eastern section had reached the M6 resulting in a double junction. The original junction plus a motorways merge just to the south, the M56 at this junction worked in conjunction with junction 19 as the southbound junction, hence the M56 ended on the M6 northbound as shown below:-  

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The next year in 1975 the M56 was opened out to Chester this resulted in quite a complex layout as shown below:-

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Despite the complexity there was no link between the M6 Northbound and the M56 Eastbound except indirectly via the A50 roundabouts, there was no link between the M56 eastbound and the M6 southbound, traffic would leave the M56 at the previous junction, follow the A556 then join the M6 at Junction 19. In 1995 the M6 was widened to 4 lanes from this junction northwards over the Thelwall Viaduct to junction 21a. This resulted in modifications to this junction as shown below:-

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Northbound sign at junction 20