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Route of the A57(M)

The famous Mancunian Way - a high-standard bypass for central Manchester. Much of it is up on stilts crossing over other streets. There was a great deal of excitement in Manchester around its 1967 opening; the Manchester Evening News ran article after article on the 'highway in the sky', which was seen then as a major engineering feat and a very positive development for Manchester. Despite its wave of publicity, the road wasn't quite as impressive when it first opened. The A56 and A6 junctions were both at-grade roundabouts back then, which were only grade-separated in the early 1990s.

Its hair-raising interchanges are partly because the road was just plain-vanilla A57 when it opened, and motorway restrictions were added on later. Its speed limit was also raised from an initial 30 to the current 50 when it was realised that vehicles were capable of travelling on the road without falling off at this breakneck pace.

The A34 junction has a famous mistake: there is an unfinished sliproad leaving the eastbound carriageway to head north - though it ends in mid air because during construction it was abandoned when the contractors realised that it would eject traffic the wrong way onto a one way street. (Some sources have claimed more recently that there was a plan for Brook Street to become two-way at the time the road was built, but this theory is widely dismissed as being much too boring.)

Factfile

Start Hulme (A56)
Finish Ardwick (A635)
Passes Manchester
Length 2 miles
Terminates None
Spurs None
Meets None

Images

Views of the A57(M) from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.

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Heading eastbound from the A56, the road is three lanes wide and runs at ground level. This unusual footbridge replaces one of the road's original dingy underpasses.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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On the two-lane elevated section over the A5103 junction, the road twists around. This is the 'highway in the sky' that the MEN used to talk about - we're roughly at rooftop level with the buildings around us.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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The London Road flyover crossing the A6. The road drops to ground level before the flyover scoops it up again over quite a steep hump-back. The flyover appeared in about 1994 and is therefore newer than most of the rest of the road.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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This plaque, mounted in the middle of one of the road's roundabouts, commemorates the opening of the Mancunian Way in 1967 by Harold Wilson. A recent, less durable addition reads "coming soon to this location: charming ruins". It was probably not put there by a fan of sixties architecture.

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the A57(M) were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
Mar1967 Entire motorway

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

NB: Although almost the entire A57(M) route is elevated, junctions are shown above the motorway to make them easier to see.

Junction   Westbound               Eastbound
Salford
Liverpool
(M60 Link, M62 Link)
A57 (M602 Link)
Stretford
Sale A56
Castlefield
G-MEX







A56

A5067
WEST
A57 (M602)
(Non-standard interchange)







A56
N/A More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns
0.75 miles, 3 lanes Up   Down 0.75 miles, 3 lanes
Didsbury A5103
Chester, M'cr Airport
Birmingham (M56 Link)
A5103
(M56)


Princess Road/Cambridge Street junction (Non-standard interchange) A5103


Didsbury A5103
Chester, M'cr Airport
Birmingham (M56 Link)
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
0.75 miles, 3 lanes Up   Down 0.65 miles, 3 lanes

A34
Brook Street (Non-standard interchange) A34 University
Wilmslow
Cheadle
A34
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
  Down 0.1 miles, 3 lanes
N/A A6
(A57)
(M67)







Downing Street junction (Diamond)
A635
EAST
A6








Ashton-under-Lyne
Oldham
A635
Piccadilly Station
Stockport, Hyde
Sheffield
A6 (A57, M67 Link)
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns

With thanks to Paul Smith for information in this section.