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Location Map ( geo)
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Highway Authority
Blackburn with Darwen
Forward Destination on
M65 • A666 • A677 • A678 • A679 • A6062 • A6119
Next Primary Destinations
Bolton • Clitheroe  • Preston • Skipton
Places related to the M65
Preston • Burnley • Colne • Nelson
Places related to the A666

Blackburn, located 10 miles east of Preston and 20 miles north of Manchester forms one of the many Lancashire cotton mill towns that boomed during the Industrial Revolution. As such, it also is the gateway to the historically significant East Lancashire textiles region.

A potted history

In Roman times it was the site of a crossing over the River Blakewater (which gives the town its name) on the Roman Road between Manchester and Ribchester. This route is still honoured today as one of the town's radial routes is known (somewhat obviously) as Roman Road. The ford itself has long since gone, but the area of the town centre known as Salford is the historical reminder of it.

Blackburn as a proper town has only existed since 1851, since which it rapidly expanded, leaving all the major roads into the town (some of which were new build turnpike roads) surrounded by a mixture of both mills and terraced housing. Traffic was pretty abysmal in the early days of motoring and by 1927 the A6119 Northern Bypass was completed to allow east west traffic on the Preston to Halifax trunk road to avoid the town centre. It featured a dual carriageway section from the start to allow for trams to run down the road, but the trams never came out of the town this far.

Despite the bypass, even today it is difficult to get into the town centre itself without traversing highly built up urban areas, which makes travel considerably more difficult during peak hours. The town has always been hindered by this substandard road network, only gaining a motorway connection to the rest of Lancashire in 1997 when the M65 was completed after much political wrangling over its routing.

It wasn't always expected to be like this, in the 1960s ambitious plans as part of the town's masterplan were unveiled. Over 150 acres of the town centre were earmarked for redevelopment, with a concise network of high capacity roads such as the Inner Relief Route and the now M65 to be included in the package. However, economic pressures intervened and the proposed redevelopments were scaled down to 12 acres. The road schemes, barring the dualling of Ainsworth Street in the absolute centre, never happened. The motorway proposals went to public inquiry in 1974, were rejected by those present, and in 1980 the M65 between Hyndburn and Preston was dead. It would not be revived until 1987 when the previously discarded southern route around the town was chosen and redesigned for motorway standards.

The debates and arguments over the M65 also meant that much needed inner ring road was never finished - the only section of it to open was Barbara Castle Way in 1990, the remaining phases are nothing but distant memories.

Since the start of the 21st Century, much of the town has seen the road network be modified in a desperate effort to solve the chronic traffic problems and road maintenance issues (The Beatles famously alluded to the number of potholes in Blackburn in the song "A Day In The Life"). This has resulted in the creation of the controversial A6078 Orbital Route as a watered down version of the original inner ring road plan, and many town centre road closures, the first of which was the closure of Ainsworth Street in 1994. Traffic just continues to grow though, as the existence of the M65 now makes the town an attractive commuter dormitory as all the major centres of employment in the Lancashire area are within an hours drive from the town.

Chronology of Local Road Schemes

The list below catalogues all completed major road schemes since the start of the 'motor age'.

Route Scheme Opened
A6119 Blackburn Northern Bypass 1927
B6447 Stancliffe Street 1938
Ainsworth Street Dualling & Blackburn Market highway improvement works 1964
A666 Bolton Road Dualling (New Garden Street to Canterbury Street) 1970
A677 (now A6078) Barbara Castle Way (Phase I, Preston New Road to Eanam) 1990
Ainsworth Street conversion to Bus Mall 1994
Blackburn Boulevard Bus Station Improvements 1996
A6119 Brownhill Roundabout major improvement and dualling (Pleckgate Road to Whalley New Road) (Highways Agency scheme) 1996
M65 Blackburn Southern Bypass (Highways Agency scheme) 1997
Paul Rink Way (formerly Eccleshill Road), link from Lower Darwen to M65 Jct 4 1998
A6078 Orbital Route Junction Improvements 2001
A6078 Barbara Castle Way (Phase II, Montague Street to Preston New Road) 2003
A6078 Eanam Widening & Bus Lane 2004
A678 Whitebirk Interchange Improvement 2008
A6078 Wainwright Bridge 2008
A6078 Barbara Castle Way (Phase II) Widening 2010
Various Town Centre One Way System 2011
A6077 Guide Roundabout replacement with signalised junction and widening of link road to M65 Jct 5 2015
A666 Alan Shearer Way & Ewood Bus Interchange 2015
Various Cathedral Quarter & Bus Station highway schemes 2015
Various Pennine Reach schemes, junction improvements and provision of bus lanes. 2015
A6078 Wainwright Way (Freckleton Street Link Road) 2016
A678 Copy Nook, Bottomgate, and Furthergate Widening & Burnley Link Road 2016
B6231 Issa Way, Blackamoor Crossroads & Roman Road Improvements 2022

List of "A" Class Routes

Blackburn has several A roads considering its small size. This is a hangover from the days of the town being a major industrial centre and thus having major roads converge on the town. For a more comprehensive list see List of Classified Routes in Blackburn.

Route To Notes


Darwen, Bolton The main north-south route through the town, and heavily congested.


Whalley, Clitheroe (A59) (A671) The main north-south route through the town, and heavily congested.


Chorley Major radial to west of town.


Preston (A59) Significantly shortened in 1997 and again in 2005, now renumbered as A678, A679 and B6236 east of town centre.


Rishton Bypassed by M65 to east of Whitebirk, now the main radial from M65 J6.


Accrington Significantly rerouted in 2005, now begins on A678. Original route through Audley declassified.


(M65) Forms a link between A666 and A674, known as Livesey Branch Road.


Shadsworth, (M65) Originally B6232, renumbered as A6177 in 1997, changed to A6077 in 2005, and upgraded to primary in 2015.


Blackburn Blackburn Orbital Route, created in 2001, proposed main alignment completed in 2016.


Preston, (A677) Blackburn Northern Bypass. Trunk road until 1997, opened in 1927.

A666 • A674 • A675 • A677 • A678 • A679 • A6062 • A6064 • A6077 • A6078 • A6119 • A6177 (Blackburn - Haslingden) • B6130 • B6231 • B6232 • B6233 • B6234 • B6236 • B6391 • B6447 • B6535 • M65 • T66 (Britain)
Related Pictures
View gallery (91)
Incorrect sign showing 6 - Coppermine - 2403.jpgRoute a environs.jpgPrimrose Hill 1990.jpgAccrington Road 007.jpgC619 where it crosses the A677 in one of the better areas of Blackburn. The trees make the area look lovely, it isn't really very wooded here - despite the way the photo presents it! - Coppermine - 1432.JPG
Places in North West England
Major CitiesCarlisle • Liverpool • Manchester • Preston • Salford
Primary DestinationsAltrincham • Ashton-under-Lyne • Barrow • Birkenhead • Blackburn • Blackpool • Bolton • Bootle • Brough • Burnley • Bury • Chester • Clitheroe • Colne • Congleton • Crewe • Ellesmere Port • Fleetwood • Garston • Heysham • Huyton • Kendal • Keswick • Kirkby Lonsdale • Lancaster • Leigh • Macclesfield • Manchester Airport • Morecambe • Nantwich • Northwich • Oldham • Penrith • Rochdale • Runcorn • Skelmersdale • Southport • Speke • St Helens • Stockport • Trafford Park • Wallasey • Warrington • Whitehaven • Widnes • Wigan • Windermere
Other PlacesAlderley Edge • Alston • Ashton-in-Makerfield • Chorley • Cockermouth • Eccles • Hazel Grove • Hindley • Holmes Chapel • Hyde • Kirkby • Knutsford • Littleborough • Liverpool Airport • Lytham St Annes • Maghull • Middleton • Middlewich • Nelson • Newton-le-Willows • Ormskirk • Poynton • Sale • Stretford • Wilmslow • Winsford • Workington

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