The M6 crosses the country from south east to north west including some hill country as here iin Cumbria M6 Route - Start of Britains Motorways

After World War 2 Traffic started to increase on Britain's Trunk road network on some day to almost saturation level. The government felt they had to either radically improve or replace the network. In 1937 Lancashire County Council had recommended to the Minister of Transport that the North-South Route through Lancashire should be replaced an entirely new road restricted to the use of motor traffic only, it was not until 1949 that the Special Roads Act made available the legal powers necessary for the construction of a motorway. In May, 1953, the Minister of Transport intimated his intention to make a Scheme under the Act for the Preston By-pass, i.e., the part of the North-South Motorway from Bamber Bridge to Broughton and in December of that year the Minister outlined in Parliament his expanded road program which provided for the Preston Bypass to be commenced in 1956-57. This small start was going to become Britain's longest Motorway. What route would this goliath of motorways take?

 

Route of the M6 MotorwayThe Route of the M6

The M6 replaces the A6 right? Only partly, at least for its northern 90 miles. Starting at just north of Carlisle the route follows much as would have been expected to replace the A6. Bypassing the City to the east the M6 then crosses the A6 for the first time, both roads running roughly parallel with each other, the A6 passing through Penrith, the M6 bypassing the town to the west. Both roads then start there climb into the fells, the A6 looping west of the M6 near Lowther then crossing to the east of the motorway, before passing under the motorway near the end of the old Penrith bypass, both roads then staying parallel with each other, the A6 passing through Shap Village. Just north of Shap Village the roads start to separate, the A6 climbing to Shap Summit before dropping taking a slightly westerly course to Kendal. To avoid high ground the M6 takes ann easterly course following the railway line through the Lune Gorge then turning west, thus passing about 8 miles to the east of Kendal. Both roads meet at Carnforth then continue roughly parallel the A6 going through Lancaster, Garstang and Preston, the M6 keeping slightly to the east to bypass the urban areas, both meeting at the junction at the end of the old Preston Bypass.

 

Staffordshire one of the counties the M6 passes throughFrom the end of the Preston Bypass the A6 continues a easterly course through Manchester, Derby and Leicester. The motorway planners decided to take the M6 further west to avoid the pennine's and to serve the city of Birmingham. Thus after leaving Preston the M6 passes Wigan to the west, Warrington to the east, then crossing the Thelwall Viaduct, it passes Stoke on Trent/Newcastle under Lyme and Stafford to the west, before making tits way to Birmingham , where it turns easterly passing through the famous spaghetti junction just north of Birmingham City Centre before passing Coventry and Rugby to the north. It ends just north east of Rugby with a junction with the M1 and A14