One of the true oddities of the motorway network, the short-lived A6144(M) Carrington Spur was the UK's only single carriageway motorway. Loved and hated in equal measure throughout the community of road fans, it is sadly missed by all those who enjoy debating the intricacies of the road network. It was, in many ways, the ultimate anomaly. The motorway opened in 1987 and was downgraded to an A-road just 19 years later.
There was almost nothing normal about this short motorway spur. Running to almost a mile, it was a single carriageway road for its entire length, with one traffic lane each way separated by nothing more than painted white lines. There were no hard shoulders and no intermediate junctions. It terminated at a T-junction with a set of traffic lights. There was a single pair of emergency telephones in lay-bys halfway along. Even its number was strange, being one of only two motorways to ever have an unimportant-sounding four-digit number. (The other was the A6127(M), a number briefly held by the Newcastle Central Motorway.)
It was a motorway because it only led to the M60, leaving no escape for non-motorway traffic. The roundabouts at the junction where it met its parent motorway were too small for large or long vehicles to turn around and go back. The widening of the M60 caused the junction to be rebuilt with a bigger roundabout, big enough for anyone to make a U-turn, and Trafford Borough Council took the opportunity to reclassify the motorway as an ordinary road on 24 May 2006, making it easier for them to maintain.
The loss of motorway status does cause problems, though: the former motorway is now just a non-primary A-road and, on a map, looks no better than the parallel A6144 through Sale. Without a blue line, is there any guarantee heavy goods traffic aiming for the industrial areas at its western end will be tempted to take the northern bypass? It also meant the loss of one of the very few places one could legally travel at 70mph on a single-carriageway road.
The memory of this historic road will live on, though: a handful of sacred relics were rescued shortly after it was downgraded.
Views of the A6144(M) from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.
Looking east from the footbridge halfway along the motorway (which represents its only experience of grade separation), the road doesn't look much like a motorway. It comes complete with frequent "two way road" warnings.
Photo by Ian Royston
From the Carrington end, it looks even less like a motorway - apart from the blue sign on the left this could be anywhere.
Photo by Ian Royston
When the various parts of the A6144(M) were built, listed in chronological order.
All the junctions and destinations along the route.
|(M60 J8)||Ring Road (W & N)
Ring Road (S & E)
|1 mile, 1 lane||1 mile, 1 lane|
With thanks to Peter Edwardson for information in this section.