The M602 is one of those rare things: a motorway designed to get traffic straight into a city centre. That's a very literal description, too, because a surprising proportion of the M602 is built in a perfectly straight line, running directly alongside the Manchester to Liverpool railway, the world's first inter-city line built in the early 1800s.
It was — like all urban motorways, it often seems — meant to go further than it does today. It terminates in Salford, transferring most of its traffic onto the A57 Regent Road towards Manchester city centre. The proposed extension of the M602, that would have carried it east to connect directly to the A57(M) Mancunian Way, never materialised.
Nonetheless, the M602 does its job very well. It's mostly sunken into a deep trench, minimising its impact on its neighbours, a range of residential areas and Eccles town centre. It links to the M60 and M62 at its western end, giving easy access both to Manchester's outer ring road and to onward motorway connections towards Preston, Liverpool and (for the brave) places outside Lancashire.
At its western terminus, the M602 flows directly into the M62 towards Liverpool. The two of them look for all the world like one motorway passing straight through, in an obvious east-west line from central Liverpool to central Manchester. There's a reason for that. The original plan was for exactly that: one motorway between the two cities, to be called M52. It didn't happen because, while the earliest parts of the motorway were under construction, the idea of a coast-to-coast motorway called the M62 gained favour, and the western part of M52 was borrowed for that. That left a stub of motorway towards Manchester city centre that didn't seem quite right for the M52 number, and so the M602 that we know and occasionally love was born.
|Start||Eccles (M60, M62)|
|Connects to||M60, M62|
Views of the M602 from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.
Heading in towards Manchester, the route takes some sharp curves before running ruler straight alongside the railway into the city. The banking of this curve doesn't show well in the photo.
Photo by Steven Jukes
Beyond junction 2, the motorway is only two lanes. At the terminal junction each lane goes in a different direction, so the bizarre situation exists where two lanes run alongside for about a mile, separated by exit markings.
Photo by Steven Jukes
When the various parts of the M602 were built, listed in chronological order.
|Dec||1982||J2-3||Eccles → Salford|
All the junctions and destinations along the route.