The A6018 is a primary route for its entire length; it links the A57 at Mottram-in-Longdendale to the A635 at Stalybridge towards Ashton-under-Lyne. At its intersection with the A635, the A635 becomes a primary route all the way through Ashton-under-Lyne and into Manchester city centre.
It acts as the main route through the town of Stalybridge, bypassing the town centre however. It is often used as an alternative route with the A635 for vehicles travelling into Manchester from parts of Tameside, Yorkshire and Derbyshire, providing an alternative to the A57 and M67 through Hyde, Denton, Gorton and Belle Vue.
Mottram Moor to B6175
The road starts where the A57 Mottram Moor as an S4 road, splits into two S2 roads; one is the continuation of the A57 towards the M67, and the other is the A6018, both of which are primary routes. From the terminus junction of the A6018, it climbs the continuation of Mottram Moor, as Back Moor and then after a short distance reaches a Mini Roundabout with exits onto local roads and the B6174 towards the A57 and Hattersley, this road provides access to the A6018 when coming from the M67 roundabout. After this junction, the A6018 alights towards Mottram Cutting, whilst on an Embankment, it then passes the Roe Cross Inn before passing through the cutting. Mottram Cutting was constructed at the beginning of the 20th Century, beforehand, the main road followed the course of a now-local road, known as Old Road, which climbs the steep ascents of either side of the hill. After the cutting it then starts the gradual descent into Stalybridge, passing through predominantly residential areas until it reaches the staggered junctions with the B6175 to Dukinfield and Mossley.
B6175 to A635
After the B6175 junction, the road bends to the left, and goes up a fairly steep hill towards the A635 towards Ashton-under-Lyne, skirting round the edge of Stalybridge town centre; here there are numerous junctions to access the town centre and its facilities. At its northern terminus, the A6018 meets the A635 at the brow of the hill, and where the two roads meet the A635 then becomes S4 until it becomes D2 to bypass Ashton-under-Lyne town centre. The junction layout is designed as if the A6018 - A635 is the main road and the other direction of the A635 is a TOTSO.