Junction 30 looking southboundM6 Junction 30

Junction 30 was opened in 1968 about 10 years after the opening of the Preston Bypass about a mile north of the original end of the Preston Bypass. Just South of this junction the A6 and M6 crosses for the last time on the southbound carriageway. The A6 taking a most easterly route to Manchester and Derby, whilst the M6 went further west via Warrington to Birmingham. Logic dictated that at some future time the A6 from Preston to Manchester would be replaced by a Motorway.

 

 

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The approach sign at junction 30This started to happen when in 1968 the first part of the M61 from this junction to Horwich was opened, eventually the M61 being opened through to Manchester. Junction 30 was opened as a typical motorways merge junction, however there are one of two oddities. Traffic predictions at the time was thus that they felt that the M61 traffic approaching the M6 was light enough to drop down from three to one lane whilst the M6 northbound traffic would be sufficiently light to drop from 3 lanes to 2 in order for the M61 lane to merge with the M6. How wrong can predications get! By the late 1970's this junction had become notorious for queues either at the morning rush hour through the week or in the morning on a good summer weekend as traffic from Manchester and nearby tried to make its way to Blackpool and the Lakes.

 

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The approach to junction 30 from just after junction 31A careful look at the above will illustrated some of the problems with this junction, watch the traffic at the back end of the queue on the M61, at times it almost comes to a stop, we just have not enough room to show the full effect of this however it is the same principle this we have illustrated at junction 32 where traffic on a busy day moving down from 3 lanes to 2 and in the case of the M61 at this junction 1 would rapidly build up queues, on a busy day the M61 could be quede back to Chorley about 8 miles and even the M6 could be quede for a mile or more.

During the 1990's it was clear that something needed to be done about this arrangement, the decision was taken to increase the Preston Bypass between this junction and junction 32 to 4 lanes, this eliminating the need to reduce the M6 lanes to 2, whilst this new arrangement meant that the M61 could stay at 2 lanes over the bridge as illustrated below:-

 

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This arrangement is much better meaning no narrowing of the M6 and that the M61 is just reduced to 2 lanes, this happenes at the previous junction on the M61, although at times queues build up they are never as bad as previous, traffic for Preston can turn off at the previous junction thus helping to keep the queues down.