|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||6.1 miles (9.8 km)|
|Meets:||M65, A6077, B6235, A56, B6214|
|Old route now:||A6077|
|Route outline (key)|
The B6232 is a short B-class road that has had a long and interesting history since the 1990s, having been reclassified as an A-road in 1997 and then modified in 2005. It forms a very busy link between the M65 and A56, to the point where HGVs are prohibited from it and the speed limit is just 50 mph with regular mobile enforcement.
The number today only exists as a result of administrative correction - for the duplicated A6177 number was rectified by renumbering the section west of the motorway as A6077 and the rest back to B6232. This is explained further below, but first let us look at the route.
Starting at the link road from the M65 at junction 5, the road initially heads east, immediately climbing up through a 40 mph limit passing the original line of the road to the left and passing the turn for Belthorn on the right. Once back on the original line the road becomes the infamous Grane Road and gains a 50 limit after the Packhorse Inn. This section of road is twisty, narrow, and totally inadequate for the purpose it serves today. The Highways Agency included it in their Route Management Study for the area in 2004 but the only action proposed was traffic restraint - heavy traffic is expected to go to M65 J8 and use the A56 from there, but commuters remain on this 5-mile section of road instead of the 10+ mile detour via Accrington.
There is a cramped junction at the Grey Mare Inn, where a C-class road heads off to Bolton, and then the 7.5t weight limit begins. The road here is exposed to the elements and is often closed if it snows. The bends don't ease off until the road plummets downhill into Haslingden Grane and becomes a built-up area. The B6235 to Helmshore branches off to the right before another plunge down to the A56. This half-diamond junction allows access to and from Manchester only, and is one of the reasons the A677 was downgraded as there is no direct access to it from the A56. The Grane Road itself, though, continues back uphill and eventually ends in the middle of Haslingden on the B6214 Deardengate, which happens to be a one-way road leading to the A680.
Originally the B6232 started in Blackburn town centre at the Townsmoor Junction (today's A6078 crosses the site) and headed uphill out of town to the village of Guide, passing Queen's Park Hospital (now the Royal Blackburn Hospital). During this time the speed limit between the Observatory pub and the junction with the B6231 was NSL. There was a simple priority junction where the B6130 ended.
Then the M65 was given permission to be built and everything changed. The NSL section was reduced to 40, a mini-roundabout appeared at the junction with the B6130, and development in advance of the motorway opening was created in the fledgling Shadsworth Business Park. The opening of the motorway saw the B6232 renumbered as A6177 - which caused some navigational headaches as that number was already established 40 miles away in Bradford as the city's outer ring road.
The development that took place also caused a rapid increase in traffic and by the early 2000s the road out from Blackburn to the motorway was rapidly becoming a massive traffic problem. Problems also occurred on the Grane Road section with the surge in HGVs crossing between the M65 and A56.
In the early 2000s, houses and retail development was added to the road, further reducing the speed limit to 30 and introducing a gauntlet of full size roundabouts. This has done nothing to help traffic matters, and the queues in the peaks can be extreme to say the least. Proposals have been floated to signalise junctions and widen the road but as of yet have come to naught.
The Grane Road section received the 40 and 50 mph speed limit in 2003 and the 7.5 t weight limit in 2006. The duplicate number was removed around the same time and the B6232 came back into existence.