|Distance:||8.1 miles (13 km)|
|Meets:||A62, A6104, M60, B6189, A669, A627(M), A627, A671, B6194, B6197, A640|
|Route outline (key)|
The A663 is effectively a continuation of the A627(M), south to Manchester, via the A62. I remember it being a fairly quick route, mostly dual carriageway or 4 lane single, but that was some time ago. Probably one set of lights after another now. The A627(M)/A663/A62 would seem the most obvious route into Manchester when heading from Yorkshire on the M62, but it has never been signed thus. The signed route is and always has been the A576, which runs from what is now M60 J19, and the A665, despite this taking forever and a day. Despite the completion of the M60 ring, there is still no satisfactory route from Manchester city centre to Leeds, the two most important cities in the north, and many people still choose to head first towards Liverpool on the M602 then turn back on themselves on the M60 clockwise in order to get to Leeds. Bizarre!
Failsworth – Newhey
The A663 begins at a signalised T-junction with the A62 in the Newton Heath area of Manchester, east of the city centre. It is 40mph D2 for the first couple of miles and interspersed with several sets of traffic lights. A large signalised crossroads with the A6104 heralds the end of the D2 section, but the road maintains two lanes each way as an S4 configuration.
After a further half-mile, this high quality route meets the M60 at J21. This junction is a forest of traffic lights, and several more sets interrupt the journey north, specifically as we meet the B6189 and the A669. The road continues, still as 40mph S4, past a fire station before TOTSOing off to the left up a slip road. The main route continues straight on as the A627(M) towards the M62 at J20.
To stay on the A663, we head up the slip road and turn right at the roundabout. This has traffic lights around part of it, meaning that the only entry possibilities we have are when the lights to our right are all on red. Which isn't very often.
One we have negotiated the roundabout we immediately pass a retail park and a couple of fast food restaurants. The road is a WS2 with a 40 mph speed limit that changes to 30mph a short distance later. Boundary Park, home of Oldham Athletic FC, is visible to the right and subsequently we meet the A671 (former A627) at a signalised crossroads. This marks the original start of the A663. However, according to the 1922 Road Lists it was always planned to extend west along its current route and indeed this extension was added in the 1920s (although the road had to be built first).
We cross a humped bridge over a disused railway line, then the road then straightens out for half-a-mile or so, with part of the carriageway on the left marked out for parking. This reduces the width of the traffic lanes and makes it difficult for two wide vehicles to pass. We pass terraced houses typical of northern England as we head towards Shaw.
On entering Shaw, a roundabout is negotiated and suddenly, the Pennines appear. They have been visible in the near distance but are now buttressed against the rear of the buildings on the right. We cross the junction with the B6197 and the road is as twisty now as it was straight before. We negotiate an S-bend as we cross a bridge over a railway track - actually here it's the Metrolink. The A663 ends at a junction where the A640 from Huddersfield comes in from the right. We can either take that route, or carry straight ahead (without giving way though – that honour goes to traffic on the westbound A640) towards Milnrow and J21 of the M62.