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Route of the M55

Blackpool is busy enough to need its own motorway access from the M6 - and this is it. It's thick with traffic in the summer months, and takes about half of the traffic load of the M6 around Preston - but in winter months it tends to be noticeably quieter. Even so, Blackpool and Preston are large urban centres in their own right, and the motorway remains reasonably well used all through the year.

The M55 doesn't have a junction 2, which was reserved for the planned Preston Western Bypass. This road was first proposed in the 1950s, reappeared in the 1980s, and eventually was cancelled for good. It's no longer on the cards now that the original Preston bypass to the east has been widened. The basic plan was to extend the M65 to join the M55 at J2, and construct an M59 from the missing junction on the M58 to the south-west of Preston.

This motorway is perhaps the candidate for most unassuming bit of road to be a crucial part of motoring history. The section from the M6 to junction 1 is part of the Preston Bypass, Britain's first motorway.

Factfile

Start Preston (M6)
Finish Blackpool (A583)
Passes None
Length 12 miles
Terminates None
Spurs None
Meets None

Images

Views of the M55 from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.

Thumbnail

Eastbound, approaching the M6, the weaving here in the short distance between the merge from junction 1 and the split for the M6 is a sight to behold. The M6 interchange ahead is Britain's first three-level junction.
Photo by Steven Jukes

Thumbnail

Heading westbound between junctions 1 and 3, the road surface looks worn out (perhaps it is original to the motorway). Despite being effectively a spur to the seaside, the M55 was built in the best 1970's tradition with three lanes each way. At the time it opened it was wider than the busiest section of the M5.
Photo by Steven Jukes

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the M55 were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
Dec1958 J0-1 Preston Eastern Bypass
Jul1975 J1-4 Preston Northern Bypass

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Eastbound               Westbound
(M6 J32)
25.5 km
The NORTH WEST
Lancaster
M6 Link
The SOUTH
Manchester (M61 Link)
Liverpool (M58 Link)
M6 Link






M6
EAST
Broughton Interchange (Directional T)






M6
(M58)
(M61)
N/A More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 4 lanes Up   Down 1 mile, 2+2 lanes
1
24.5 km
Preston
Broughton
A6
A6



(Roundabout Interchange)Roundabout Interchange A6



Preston
Broughton
A6
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
7 miles, 3 lanes Up   Down 7 miles, 3 lanes
3
13 km
Kirkham
Fleetwood
A585
A585 (Roundabout Interchange)(Roundabout Interchange) A585 Kirkham
Poulton-le-Fylde
Fleetwood
A585
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
4 miles, 3 lanes Up   Down 4 miles, 3 lanes
4
6.5 km
N/A A583





(Roundabout Interchange)
A5230
WEST
A583





Blackpool & Airport
Lytham St Anne's
A5230
Great Marton
North Shore
A583
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns

With thanks to Aran Smithson and Martyn Clapham for information in this section.