M6 Junction 31
The oldest junction on the british motorway system as it was the only junction on the original Preston Bypass. In those days everything to do with motorways had to end on a roundabout. This junction boasts two roundabouts at the end of either slip road. As is illustrated below.
|The junction was originally signposted as the junction for:- Preston, Blackpool, Blackburn & Skipton northbound, as most traffic for Preston would have not joined the bypass, whilst Blackpool traffic could go onto the next junction this was really the junction for Blackburn both north and southbound, Skipton could be reached by the A59 but was some 30 miles away, it would have more suited being signposted to Clitheroe as happened later.|
In 1965 the Preston bypass was converted from 2 lanes to 3 by removing part of the central reservation which had been designed to be removed later, this had little effect on the junction as shown below:-
The junction remained this way until the 1990's, from 1968 its traffic significantly increased, with the opening of the M61 just to the south, this meant this junction became the main junction for Preston for traffic coming off the new motorway. In 1975 Blackpool was effectively dropped from the junction with the opening of the M55 to the north.
In the 1990's Preston Bypass went under major redevelopment with effectivelly a new carrigeway being built to add an extra lane to each carrigeway, this junction underwent major redevelopment with the addition of two northerly slip roads each with there own bridge across the River Ribble to replace the older bends. With the addition of the M65 a couple of miles further south feeding Blackburn, the signage was changed to Preston & Clitheroe southbound and Preston, Blackburn & Clitheroe Northbound.