M6 60 year anniversary!

Today marks 60 years since the opening of the M6 Preston By-pass. 

Opened with a ceremony hosted by the then prime minister Harold MacMillan, the stretch that now forms part of the M6 covered 8 miles past Preston. The road at the time was two carriageways in each direction with a hedge as the central reservation.

The construction included 22 bridge sections carrying the road over existing roads, railways and rivers as well as taking traffic over the new motorway.

Today hundreds of thousands of drivers travel more than 20 million miles on the M6 every day. As major technology upgrades take place to motorways all across the country, some local residents look back to what they remember from 1958.

Lancashire residents wrote in with memories of working on the construction (which took 2 years) as well as memories of the opening ceremony.

Then the cavalcade of cars came, and out stepped Harold MacMillan… he made a speech about this being a great feat and how us children would benefit in the future front he technology of the super roads”.

When the bypass was finally finished and opened, a procession of all forms of transport was organised… my job was to deliver a congratulatory telegram from the Queen to the Minister of Transport”.

As part of the activity to mark the anniversary we spent the day with Highways England finding out how they help keep the motorways safe and moving.

The team based at Salmesbury cover over 100 miles of motorway between South Cumbria and North Manchester including the whole of Lancashire.



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