Walton Summit Motorway
|Walton Summit Motorway|
|From:||Clayton Brook Interchange (SD583249)|
|To:||Tramway Lane, Walton Summit (SD577248)|
The Walton Summit Motorway forms a short three lane single carriageway link between the M65 and M61 and ultimately the A6. It was opened in early 1995; almost 3 years in advance of the M65 due to the fact the new motorway was constructed on top of the original link road.
In 1986, a spur road was constructed from the A6 to the M61. This route was primary, single carriageway, and was subject to the National Speed Limit. It was one of very few highways projects related to the Central Lancashire New Town that were realised, opening in 1987.
A year later, the M65 was approved between Preston and Blackburn, with construction expected to start in 1995. This link was retained (albeit realigned to the north so that the M65 can utilise the original link) to ensure that the expanding Walton Summit Employment Area remained viable and could be accessed from Manchester, but given that it simply connected to two motorways meant it was given Special Road status. The result was to be a unique length of motorway with no number.
The Walton Summit Motorway when first opened had conflicting signs that stated it was both simultaneously the M61 and the M65. Whilst scholars of the motorway system may have felt this 'Schrodinger's Motorway' was an amusing issue, the then Highways Agency felt it was not and eventually replaced all of its signs to read M61.
Another unusual feature is the primary route status of the nearby A6. When the link road was first completed in 1987, a primary route link from the M61 to the A6 was created. The completion of the M65 eliminated this, and meant that traffic had to use the unclassified road network within the Walton Summit Employment Area to reach the A6. Oddly, the primary section of the A6 east of M6 J29 was not removed, leaving a stub that ends arbitrarily at a roundabout which originally connected to the link road. As of 2016 this anomaly still remains.