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Hooton Industrial Road

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Hooton Industrial Road
Location Map ( geo)
Hooton Industrial Road now M53 at junction 6 - Geograph - 6434186.jpg
Hooton Industrial Road, now M53 at junction 6
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From:  Hooton (SJ360790)
To:  Ellesmere Port (SJ391782)
Highway Authority
National Highways
Opening Date
On road(s)

The Hooton Industrial Road started life as an unclassified dual carriageway giving better access to the Vauxhall Motors Plant and Bowater's Paper Mill at Ellesmere Port. After various incarnations it became part of M53.


Unclassified Beginnings

The initial scheme shown in 1969.... but where are the factories?

The initial scheme was for a dual carriageway from A41 north of Hooton to North Road, Ellesmere Port (0.4 mile east of Overpool Link junction, the current M53 J7) . Tender invitations were posted in December 1965 by Cheshire County Council. It included:

  • dual carriageway of flexible construction about 2 miles long
  • 2 grade separated junctions
  • 3/4 mile single carriageway Overpool Link
  • diversion of B5132 Rivacre Road
  • 5 bridges
  • 1 pedestrian subway and 2 for pipelines
  • 200 yards of brook culvert of reinforced concrete

Tender documents could be obtained on payment on deposit of 10 guineas (£10 10s) which would be returned on receipt of a bona fide tender not subsequently withdrawn. The deadline for tenders was 22 February 1966. Sir Alfred McAlpine and Son Ltd. was the contractor.

Work must have started fairly briskly since there was hope in March 1967 that the Wirral's biggest road building project in post war years would be completed 4 months early. The Rivacre Road diversion had been completed. It had previously been described as a narrow winding country lane between Ellesmere Port and Eastham that had been heavily overloaded with traffic since the opening of the Vauxhall Motors plant. The diversion opened on 28 March 1967. It was close to the western interchange where three new bridges had been completed.

About 300,000 tons of material had been removed in a “cut and fill” operation in the undulating Rivacre Valley where the eastern interchange was being completed. This was the interchange with the link road for Overpool.

A section was open in early June 1967. Vauxhall works traffic could use it, so leaving Rivacre Road clear for traffic travelling to the Cheshire Show at Hooton Park.

On 22 August 1967 the Liverpool Echo reported that workers were putting the finishing touches to the £1,450,000 road and that it was expected to open at the beginning of October 1967. Nearly all the top surfacing had been done leaving smaller items such as the fencing, line painting and putting in the cats eyes to be completed. It was still 4 months ahead of the original schedule. Work had already started on the landscaping of the embankments and the interchange areas and thousands of trees were due to be planted from Cheshire County Council's tree nurseries.

But, how long did it remain unclassified? There are a lot of maps from 1968 onwards that show the road as an “A” road (although not showing any number, probably due to limited space). These include OS Quarter inch, Bartholomews, Philips and Reader's Digest. However Liverpool Echo reports did not state a road number even when they stated numbers of other roads in the report.

Future upgrade

Even before the road was completed it was reported, in March 1967, that the Hooton Industrial Road was the first phase of a highway system that would eventually extend right across Ellesmere Port to the A5117 Queensferry to Warrington road to take heavy industrial traffic away from the crowded shopping streets of the town.

North Road Improvement plans

The road in 1972. Vauxhall Motor Works has appeared but no change to North Road into town.

The second section, was due to start in April 1968. This was the section between North Road and Merseyton Road and was to include a new slip road from the factories under the Hooton Industrial Road to Rossmore Road. However, the plans were changed since North Road was eventually severed and access to the town was via the Overpool Link junction.

It seems that there was no improvement to North Road before the Ellesmere Port Motorway works got underway. That the dual carriageway was shown as extending to the Merseyton Road on the January 1971 OS Quarter inch map would seem to be an error. No inprovements were shown on the 1972 OS One inch map. A June 1972 Liverpool Echo report stated that the new section would extend from the Bowater factory. This was at Mount Manisty and was where the 1967 Hooton Industrial Road ended. A report in the same month about the contract award also stated that the works included a two level roundabout at the junction of Rosslare Road with connections to Merseyton Road, and a new service road which would run parallel with the motorway to carry traffic to the Gulf and Mobil oil installations.

Extra lanes for Vauxhall

In December 1970 there was the go ahead for extra lanes between Hooton A41 junction and Vauhall's Trumpet interchange (now M53 J5 to J6) at a cost of £30,895.

The End

The upgrade to motorway would include the addition of hard shoulders and motorway signs per the June 1972 report. The contract was awarded to Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Company.

Cheshire and Merseyside County Councils' 1975 Appropriation Orders for Hooton Industrial Road to be part of the Ellesmere Port Motorway scheme were authorised on 15 December 1975 by the Secretary of State and the road was opened as the M531 motorway on 22 December 1975. From then on the road would be known as the Ellesmere Port Motorway and Hooton Industrial Road was forgotten.


Related Pictures
View gallery (26)
Image0069.jpgM56 Stoak Interchange 2.jpgM531 before it became Motorway - Coppermine - 657.jpgCheshire Area Road Network Outline Proposals 16 Jan 1970.jpgUpton Interchange 1973.jpg
Other nearby roads
Ellesmere Port

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