Issuu on Google+

The M6 at

50

In association with

INSIDE:

● How it all began ● Super pictures from the building of the motorway ● The people with a 24/7 role in life


20

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

Tell us why YOU are proud of Preston... ● e-mail us on lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk ● e-mail picture desk on lep.picturedesk@lep.co.uk ● Send us some video at leponline@googlemail.com

● Send us a comment on your mobile phone, text LEPSHOUT (space) and the text up to a maximum of 160 characters, and send to 84070 Our postal address is: Lancashire Evening Post Oliver's Place Preston PR2 9ZA

lep.co.uk

Beginnings... by David Cross IT is 50 years since the opening of Preston Bypass lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk – Britain’s first ever motorway The road, which later bemade it difficult because came the M6, is a feat of much of the major excavaengineering for which the tion had to be carried out county is still proud today. in soft silty clays.” Harry Yeadon, who Twenty-three bridges helped engineer the mowere required for the bytorway, tells the story of its pass. As part of the expericreation... ment, bridge designers “The bypass was a reacwere allowed to have a tion to the number of accifree hand. dents taking place on the The bypass was opened in East Lancashire Road, the 1958 by Prime Minister A580,” says Harry. “It Harold Macmillan. had been opened to traffic At first, it was so quiet that by George V in 1934.” there was no need for a The A580 was a small speed limit. Some people road with a lot of access saw this as an opportunity points, which caused to test their cars– which many collisions. As a reled to the motorway havsult, Lancashire County ing the biggest signs in EuCouncil decided to make rope at the time. an entirely new route, with With limited funding, Sir controlled access and reJames Drake, founder of stricted to motor vehicles the bypass, insisted it only. should be built with two “The German autobahns lanes in each direction. A were an inspiration to the third lane was built in county council but post 1966. war financial problems The centre of the by-pass meant a whole motorway had a hedge planted along could not be built at once. it to minimise the glare “The eight-and-a-quarter- from incoming headlights mile Preston Bypass was at night. But salt spreadused as a ‘guinea pig’ for ing in winter meant it didall future British motorn’t survive for long and a way schemes. It ran from steel barrier was added Bamber Bridge to the during the 1960s. south of Preston, to The Preston Bypass is now Broughton and then to the part of the M6 which runs north of Preston. The only 230 miles from Junction 1 junction was what is now at Rugby to Junction 44 at 31 for Samlesbury. Carlisle. Compared with present When Harry went to Italy day forms of carriageway in 1924, he saw the world’s and hardshoulder confirst motorway – and did struction, the design and not know what it was. drainage system was very “I never dreamed that simple. there would be anything “The two-year period of like it here,” he says. “I am construction saw terrible very proud to have been weather and it rained conpart of the golden age of stantly,” says Harry. “It roads.”

SUPERMAC: Harlod Macmillan officially opens the M6

REUNITED: Those involved with the bypass, pictured left to right – Alan Morris, junior engineer and design consultant, Alan Whittaker, junior office boy at LCC from 1958, Jean Murdoch, who worked in the Resident Engineers Office at LCC from the beginning to the end, Harry Yeadon, and Mike Stevens, the youngest member of the motorway design team from 1955. They are pictured with an original MF35 tractor which was one of a fleet used from 1962 on the site LEFT AND ABOVE LEFT: Harry Yeadon with his motorway book and how he was in 1958

Signs are, some things never change FOUNDER: Sir James Drake

THE M6 motorway has always been a traffic hot spot –- but you think it is bad now... The original three-lane motorway near Preston closed in April 1993 to make way for a four-lane “super-highway”. It caused two-and-a-half years of misery for motorists – but many would say it was worth it. The £37.5m scheme meant hundreds of cones, diversions, milelong traffic jams and it was completely shut at night. Drivers became angry with the difficulty they faced getting to work. The Highways Agency promised an end to the madness by the end of 1994 and then again in early 1995, but completion took longer than expected. Lancashire’s new four-lane motorway was officially opened in August 1995, but there were still problems to come. More chaos followed with a stretch being closed in October for emergency repairs – just weeks after its fanfare opening. Police urged motorists to avoid the stretch of the M6 northbound between junctions 31 and 32 if at all possible while work was carried out. Then, in January, police officers spotted lumps and bumps along the M6 between junction 30 at Blacow Bridge and junction 32 at Broughton. Insp David Mallaby of the motorway police based at Charnock Richard near Chorley said at the time: “Since the four lane section of the motorway has been open there have been complaints and our officers have also noticed some locations between junctions 30 and 32 do appear uneven.”

Remember these?

Over the next few years, a string of “updates” were completed over the new stretch of road. But traffic levels and predicted growth figures meant the additional capacity introduced between Bamber Bridge and Broughton meant more work would be needed in the future. The Highways Agency has planned to build an extra lane on one part of the M6 to ease one of the worst bottlenecks in Lancashire. The M6 southbound at the Broughton interchange will be extended to three lanes between the entry and exit slip roads at junction 32 next year. The £4.1m project will see the mile-long stretch with two lanes around junction 32 increased to three. The scheme will take six months to complete.


lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

See a super video wall online lep.co.uk

MY MEMORY

The work starts...

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: A box girder is unloaded at Samlesbury; an aerial view of the bridge over the River Ribble under construction; girders in place to form the bridge span; a lorry removes some of the countless tons of soil; an abutment at Samlesbury

ber Bridge, was Anne Williams, 62, from Bam the bypass. Sixty of g nin ope the to t wen 12 when she -le-Dale Comprehensive lton Wa n the the from n ldre chi opening of the school were chosen to see the Harold MacMillian r iste Min e bypass. “On the day, Prim stopped in front of me made a speech. Afterwards he llo ginger – you are ‘He : said and patted my head. He Remember it forever.’ part of a very important day. r became a lorry driver late I , Strange as it seems now over 30 years in my and have used motorways for er for a Lancashire nag ma rt work. I am now transpo it influenced company and often wonder if .” way e som in my career

21


22

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

Tell us why YOU are proud of Preston... ● e-mail us on lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk ● e-mail picture desk on lep.picturedesk@lep.co.uk ● Send us some video at leponline@googlemail.com

● Send us a comment on your mobile phone, text LEPSHOUT (space) and the text up to a maximum of 160 characters, and send to 84070 Our postal address is: Lancashire Evening Post Oliver's Place Preston PR2 9ZA

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

See more stories online lep.co.uk

lep.co.uk

The building of a Lancashire landmark ● There are 70km or 44 miles of M6 in modern Lancashire. ● The Highways Agency Regional Control Centre keeps a 24/7 on the lookout for incidents. They provide drivers with up-to-the minute travel information ● 330 Highways Agency Traffic Officers, including 45 based at Samlesbury, are on patrol 24/7 on Lancashire's motorways, the M6, M61, M65 and M55 They help motorists who have broken down as well as clearing up after accidents to keep traffic moving freely

Starting work...

Motor scrapers near the Tickled Trout...

Rolling formation material...

● Lancashire Traffic Officers respond to 50 incidents in the county a day and 250 across the region in total. ● Six Incident Support Units based at Garstang, Newton le Willows and Westhoughton are on hand 24/7 to respond to accidents or undertake routine maintenance on Lancashire's motorways ● Traffic information is gathered through sophisticated on-road electronic systems, CCTV and patrolling traffic officers ● The information is sent to motorists through the National Traffic Control Centre in Birmingham and the Regional Control Centre in Newton le Willows through Traffic radio, the Highways Agency website, the Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL), Traffic Link, leaflets and the media. ● The Highways Agency delegates the day-to-day management of the Lancashire motorway network to two contractors (Aone+ and AmeyMouchel) ● Motorways and trunk roads in Lancashire are made up of about 3 million tonnes of Tarmac and 900 km of white lines.

MY MEMORY: Norman Ellis, 70, from New Longton, remembers his uncle working on the bypass. “I have happy memories of that time,” he says. “But I remember my uncle working so hard that he had scars all the way up his arms.” Norman’s uncle, Bill Bradley, worked in the central reservation –chopping hedges, and cutting grass for miles along the by-pass. Norman often drove him to the site. He also recalls a race on the day the motorway opened: “There was no speed limit in those days, and I remember two people challenging each other.”

...carriageway surfacing

43


22

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

Tell us why YOU are proud of Preston... ● e-mail us on lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk ● e-mail picture desk on lep.picturedesk@lep.co.uk ● Send us some video at leponline@googlemail.com

● Send us a comment on your mobile phone, text LEPSHOUT (space) and the text up to a maximum of 160 characters, and send to 84070 Our postal address is: Lancashire Evening Post Oliver's Place Preston PR2 9ZA

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

See more stories online lep.co.uk

lep.co.uk

The building of a Lancashire landmark ● There are 70km or 44 miles of M6 in modern Lancashire. ● The Highways Agency Regional Control Centre keeps a 24/7 on the lookout for incidents. They provide drivers with up-to-the minute travel information ● 330 Highways Agency Traffic Officers, including 45 based at Samlesbury, are on patrol 24/7 on Lancashire's motorways, the M6, M61, M65 and M55 They help motorists who have broken down as well as clearing up after accidents to keep traffic moving freely

Starting work...

Motor scrapers near the Tickled Trout...

Rolling formation material...

● Lancashire Traffic Officers respond to 50 incidents in the county a day and 250 across the region in total. ● Six Incident Support Units based at Garstang, Newton le Willows and Westhoughton are on hand 24/7 to respond to accidents or undertake routine maintenance on Lancashire's motorways ● Traffic information is gathered through sophisticated on-road electronic systems, CCTV and patrolling traffic officers ● The information is sent to motorists through the National Traffic Control Centre in Birmingham and the Regional Control Centre in Newton le Willows through Traffic radio, the Highways Agency website, the Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL), Traffic Link, leaflets and the media. ● The Highways Agency delegates the day-to-day management of the Lancashire motorway network to two contractors (Aone+ and AmeyMouchel) ● Motorways and trunk roads in Lancashire are made up of about 3 million tonnes of Tarmac and 900 km of white lines.

MY MEMORY: Norman Ellis, 70, from New Longton, remembers his uncle working on the bypass. “I have happy memories of that time,” he says. “But I remember my uncle working so hard that he had scars all the way up his arms.” Norman’s uncle, Bill Bradley, worked in the central reservation –chopping hedges, and cutting grass for miles along the by-pass. Norman often drove him to the site. He also recalls a race on the day the motorway opened: “There was no speed limit in those days, and I remember two people challenging each other.”

...carriageway surfacing

43


44

lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

Tell us why YOU are proud of Preston... ● e-mail us on lep.newsdesk@lep.co.uk ● e-mail picture desk on lep.picturedesk@lep.co.uk ● Send us some video at leponline@googlemail.com

● Send us a comment on your mobile phone, text LEPSHOUT (space) and the text up to a maximum of 160 characters, and send to 84070 Our postal address is: Lancashire Evening Post Oliver's Place Preston PR2 9ZA

lep.co.uk

Keeping us all on From the days of bobbies in a Z-Car to today’s extensive network using the latest technology...we meet two of the faces behind the scenes

Greg Taylor IN the past few decades Britain’s motorway network has changed dramatically. In recent times Highways Agency Traffic Officers (HATOs) have been one of the most visible changes to the system, says Greg Taylor, joint boss of the government-run Highways Agency in the North West. Traffic officers – the newest addition to motorway management – handle accidents, breakdowns, illegal pedestrians and even suicides. “The Highways Agency was originally only in charge of maintaining Britain’s motorways and providing information,” explains the 29-year-old from Cheshire. “But we wanted to focus more on customer services and take some of the burden off the police.” “Out of this, the traffic officers were born – dealing with customers and traffic management,” he added. Although the police still investigate crime, HATOs help coordinate the emergency services, control traffic and re-open routes. Dealing with about 250 incidents a day in the North West alone, HATOs have

become essential to the day-to-day running of motorways. In 2004, the Highways Agency felt it needed to take some of the responsibility for motorways off police officers. But the traffic officers were, at first, misunderstood by the public. Their glow-in-the-dark jackets and brightly coloured Land Rovers made the government officers look like the police. “It wasn’t, in itself, a bad thing,” says Greg. “If people think we are the police we can exercise more authority.” Mr Taylor says suicides occur in the North West region at least once a week. But there is one thing that gives HATOs the biggest headache. “Weather is the biggest problem,” says Greg. “Rain freezing on motorways cause endless problems, no matter how far in advance we find out.” The officers have become fast and efficient at increasing the traffic flow after an accident. The agency plans to use a new traffic management strategy by opening up the hard shoulder when big accidents occur.

Bob Baldwin

MEET Bob Baldwin – the man who keeps Lancashire’s motorists on the move. “The network wouldn’t last five minutes without us,” says Mr Baldwin, Highways Agency area performance manager for Cumbria and North Lancashire. “It would be absolute chaos.” Bob, 53, is the man in charge of maintaining the M6 from Junction 30 up to the Scottish border and the M55, as well as identifying any need for improvement. Bob and his team at the Highways Agency spring into action every time freezing temperatures are forecast. “From October to April, we are on full winter alert,” he says. “We have salt spread-

ers, snowploughs and snow blowers all on stand-by to keep the motorways clear of snow and ice.” Whether it is ice, snow, gales or floods, the Highways Agency works to keep the network safe for motorway users. Working closely with the Met Office, the police and local councils, the agency keeps the network going when bad weather hits. The Highways Agency even puts up electronic warning signs on major motorways which trigger automatically in very high winds. Bob says they spend an awful lot of money on providing the public with safety and comfort. “Out of the £2.2bn the

government spends on motorways per year, 40 per cent is spent on maintaining them and making sure they run efficiently,” he says. “We also offer advice and alert drivers to check the weather forecast before they travel, and encourage them to listen to the travel news while they are driving.” Bob is also in charge of essential maintenance work such as mending potholes, on the rare occasions where they appear, and fixing fences. You may think there is no excitement in this – but you would be wrong. “On the M6 a few years ago an elephant broke through the fence,” laughs Bob. “It was from the circus. We had to fix the whole side.”

MY MEMORY:

Peter Hewitt, who now lives in Lytham, was a 20-year-old civil engineering student who was assigned to work on the Preston Bypass for six months in 1958. He was a surveyor for the site, which meant getting land ready for using bulldozers and construction materials. Alan says: “I’m proud to have been part of the first ever motorway construction, although I was just a student at the time. The builders worked extremely hard to get results.” Alan worked for the government after his time as a surveyor. He had little to do with the rest of the construction. Yet he has vivid memories of his time working on the motorway. He said: “One day I remember setting up my equipment and realised there was a tree in the way. After I had set up somewhere else, a bulldozer popped up from over the hill and the driver asked me if I wanted to get rid of the tree.”

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you...the M6 is virtually EMPTY! Of course, this was in 1958


lep.co.uk

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

45

See more stories online lep.co.uk

the move

Think when you drive...

PATROL: The Highway Agency's traffic officers at Samlesbury

Managing our motorways is a 24-hour operation, 365 days of the year TODAY’S UK motorway network is heavily used but in good condition and among the safest in the world – thanks to the high standards set by earlier engineers and those responsible for maintaining, improving and operating the motorway network we know today. As we mark 50 years since the opening of the Preston Bypass, the UK’s first motorway standard road, it’s time to reflect on the countless individuals who have shaped the network of today and to look ahead to the motorways of the future. The motorway network is one that is used every day by millions of road users for either business or pleasure. It has transformed peoples’ lives and made a significant contribution to the economic and social fabric of the nation. As an executive agency of the Department for Transport, the Highways Agency is investing in a safe, reliable and sustainable motorway network for the 21st Century. They are working to make journeys on our motorways safer and more reliable, and giving drivers real-time information to help them plan their journeys. Their traffic officers, control

centres and information services have made a real difference to the experience of motorway driving over the past few years. Meanwhile, the process of maintaining the motorway network to keep it safe and in good condition for road users goes on, with more of the routine maintenance work now taking place overnight and during less busy periods to keep as many lanes as possible open for drivers during the busy times. Meanwhile, engineers are working to develop the network for the future, taking steps to make it more sustainable, and investigating the best of new information and traffic management technology, together with developments in construction and new materials. As outlined in the Department for Transport’s July 2008 Command Paper “Roads – Delivering Choice and Reliability”, the Government is committed to investing in the road network to improve and make better use of England’s motorways and other key roads. This will include measures like opening the hard shoulder when traffic is at its heaviest, alongside some conventional widening where that makes best sense.

ALWAYS PREPARED: The M6 and Lancashire’s other motorways present all kinds of challenges for the Highways Agency and the traffic officers

EVERY day thousands of road workers across the country put their trust in the hands of around 18 million other road users – while they are working to keep the roads safe and well maintained for drivers. Between 2003 and 2007, 10 roadworkers were killed and 81 were seriously injured while working on motorways and major A roads in England, so in November 2008 the Highways Agency launched a new safety programme to encourage drivers to take care driving near roadworks. One accident is one too many, and these tragic incidents are avoidable. The safety package includes a hard-hitting short film called “Respect,” as well as radio clips and posters. Voiced over by respected TV presenter Nick Ross (formerly of BBC’s Crimewatch), the film highlights why drivers need to have respect for road workers and an appreciation of the consequences their actions could have. The message behind “Respect” is that workers deserve respect in their workplace just as other professionals do. The short film shows a car crashing through a busy classroom, an operating theatre during surgery and then into a coned off part of a road where people are at work – the car then collides with a road worker. The longer “5 seconds” film focuses on the driver on business and the possible consequences of not slowing down for roadworks. Derek Turner, Director

for Network Operations in the Highways Agency, said: “Driving safely through roadworks can save lives. Loss of life, or a serious injury, is a very real threat to these workers, and so is physical and verbal abuse. They are out there doing their job. The road is their office. Cones, barriers, signs and reduced speed limits are there for a reason – to protect our workers from danger and keep the public safe. I urge all drivers to pay close attention to safety when driving near roadworks.” The Respect our Road Workers package has been developed by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Road Workers’' Safety Forum (RoWSaF), with its partners from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the maintenance, construction and road safety industry, and THINK! There are six simple messages for drivers near road works: 1: Keep within the speed limit. 2: Get into the correct lane in good time – don’t keep switching. 3: Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks. 4: Be alert for works traffic leaving or entering roadworks. 5: Keep a safe distance – there could be queues in front. 6: Observe all signs – they are there to help you. ● For more information about the “Respect our Road Workers” campaign, or to view the resources visit www.highways.gov.uk/roadworker


46

Evening Post Special Supplement, Friday, December 5, 2008

lep.co.uk


The M6 motorway at 50