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1970's Merseyside - RAC Map - Coppermine - 4342.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (3)
From:  Hooton (SJ353788)
To:  Little Stanney (SJ415743)
Via:  Ellesmere Port
Distance:  5 miles (8 km)
Former Number(s):  A5032
Now part of:  M53
Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
M531 Ellesmere Port Bypass
Junction List
Junc Northbound Southbound
M53 J5 Start of Motorway M53
1 A41 A41
2 Oil Terminal Oil Terminal
3 B5132 B5132
4 B5463 B5463
5 A5032 A5032
6 A5117 Start of Motorway

M531 was known as the Ellesmere Port Motorway and opened in 1975. It is is now part of M53. The former "join" between the M53 and M531 came just to the west of the present M53 junction 5, where the junction is half-constructed.

For detailed information about this topic, see Pathetic Motorways


Early Plans

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.

Stage 1, the Hooton Industrial Road, was shortly to open giving better access to the north for the Vauxhall Motors plant and Bowater Paper Mill. The remainder was to be built in stages:

  • Stage 2 – North Road to Merseyton Road
  • Stage 3 - Merseyton Road to A5117

The Borough Surveyor, Mr H. Wilson, was optimistic in November 1968 that he would be hearing from the Ministry of Transport with the go ahead for Stage 2 any time soon. The scheme included dual carriageway and flyovers with a cost of £1 million. Work on Section 3 at that stage was expected to be completed by the early 1970s. Needless to say, this did not progress as quickly as hoped for.

The pace quickens

Grants of over £5.5 million were awarded to Cheshire County Council in August 1971 towards the estimated £7.4 million cost of the 5 mile motorway from Hooton to A5117 at Little Stanney.

Tender documents were being drawn up in November 1971 and the tender of Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Company was accepted in June 1972. It included:

  • conversion of Hooton Industrial Road to motorway including the addition of hard shoulders and signs
  • new section from Hooton Industrial Road (by Bowater's plant) to A5117 at Little Stanney passing through the older part of Ellesmere Port.
  • Two level roundabout junction with Rosslare Road with connections to Merseyton Road and the docks.
  • New service road parallel with the motorway to carry traffic to the Gulf and Mobil oil installations.
  • Two level roundabout junction with Station Road with connections to Upper Mersey Street, Dock Yard Road and with diversions to Oil Sites Road.
  • A roundabout at the southern end to connect to the A5117 Warrington Trunk Road with provision for the future construction of a flyover, should the motorway be extended southwards.

Construction was to start in July 1972 and be completed by Summer 1974.

Quarry problems and disputes

Work did start in July 1972 but the company immediately hit a problem since the planning application to extract 600,000 cubic metres of sandstone from a quarry near to Willaston village, for embankment use on the northern section, was turned down by the County Council. The reasons were the unsuitable site in an area of special rural value and the scale of traffic movement in the area. It also probably did not help that the contractors were attempting to move equipment onto the site before the planning permission decision.

A new site was found near to Lea and Mollington and planning permission was given in September 1972 for the removal of 1.3 million tons of soil and subsequent reinstatement to agricultural land.

Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Company were granted a further ten weeks to the contract period and in June 1973 requested a further extension. Two reasons cited were the builders' strike and problems connected with technical services such as gas supplies.

There was a further dispute with the three unions representing workers on the construction in July 1974 which dragged on for 3 months. The motorway was then 18 months behind schedule.

The reports on work are few and far between, although there was plenty of reporting at the time about the proposals to extend the motorway to Hoole.


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.

The Ellesmere Port Motorway from Hooton to Little Stanney was opened on 22 December 1975 as M531.

Related Pictures
View gallery (3)
1970's Merseyside - RAC Map - Coppermine - 4342.jpgM531 before it became Motorway - Coppermine - 657.jpgCheshire Improvement Schemes May 1966 map Chester and South Wirral
Other nearby roads
Ellesmere Port
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