|Location Map ( geo)|
|Blackburn Orbital Route|
|From:||Townsmoor, Blackburn (SD682275)|
|To:||Townsmoor, Blackburn (SD682275)|
|Distance:||2.7 miles (4.3 km)|
|Meets:||A666, A6077, A674, A677, A666, A678, A6078|
|Route outline (key)|
The A6078 forms the Blackburn Orbital Route, a tightly drawn series of existing roads which have been linked together with some partial new-build road to form an unusual ring shape. It officially came into existence in May 2001, when the principal through route across Blackburn town centre was closed to traffic. Today it is still the subject of much local controversy in Blackburn with numerous improvements still planned for it.
It exists as the much watered down version of the Blackburn Inner Relief Route, part of the M65 proposals of 1974. One section of the Orbital Route is faithful to the Relief Route proposal, as explained below.
This route description runs clockwise from the Townsmoor Gyratory.
The first section of the Orbital Route is the large Townsmoor Gyratory which was formed out of existing roads and is on the site of the originally proposed Nova Scotia Interchange on the never-built alignment of the M65. Heading across from Russell Street it crosses the Blackburn–Preston Railway via the new bowstring arch Alfred Wainwright Bridge, which replaced a single-lane viaduct from the Victorian era. This bridge opened in June 2008 and allowed high vehicles to avoid the restricted headroom of Darwen Street Bridge further north (until 2008 all anti-clockwise traffic passed underneath the railway), and then sweeps around to join the existing network at Canterbury Street, although proposals now exist for this section to be replaced by a dual carriageway right through to King Street (the A674). These proposals were finally realised in 2013 as preparatory works got underway, with construction starting in summer 2015 after a protracted legal battle over the status of a graveyard the route crosses.
At King Street the road performs a quick dogleg to join Montague Street passing Blackburn College on the right before it meets the extended Barbara Castle Way, named after the former MP for the town, responsible for the breathalyser, which opened in June 2003. At Preston New Road (the A677), it becomes a dual carriageway, which was built as Phase One of the Inner Relief Route, opening in 1990. This road survived the wrangling over the urban motorway plans of the 1970s and forms the best section of the road, but one that is festooned with traffic signals and a hard to adhere to 30 mph speed limit enforced by a speed camera.
At the eastern end of Barbara Castle Way, a roundabout dumps traffic back onto the original road network, crossing the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on a widened section of road completed in December 2003. The A678 continues straight ahead, and all orbital traffic is directed down a single lane side street to join Higher Audley Street, bringing the orbital route down to the Audley Junction where the road meets the former A679 and then travels straight across over the canal again before feeding back into the Townsmoor Gyratory.
Work in progress. The Junctions are currently in the process of being numbered.
|Image||Name||Classified Road(s)||Grid Reference||More Info||Map|
|Towns Moor Junction
|A674, King Street
|Montague Street Junction||A677||SD678284|
|Lark Hill Junction||A666||SD684284|
|Copy Nook Junction||A678||SD689281|