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M62 motorway

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M62 shield
Lancashire-Yorkshire Motorway
Looking east at junction 22, the highest point on the English motorway network, from the Pennine Way
Route information
Part of E 20 and E 22
Maintained by
Highways England
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Liverpool City Council
Length107 mi[1] (172 km)
7 miles (11 km) are part of the M60 motorway
HistoryOpened: 1960
Completed: 1976
Major junctions
West endKnotty Ash
J6 → M57 motorway

J10 → M6 motorway
J12 → M60 motorway/M602 motorway
J18 → M60 motorway/M66 motorway

J20 → A627(M) motorway

J26 → M606 motorway

J27 → M621 motorway

J29 → M1 motorway

J32a → A1(M) motorway

J35 → M18 motorway
East endNorth Cave
CountiesMerseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire
Road network
M61 M65

The M62 is a 107-mile-long (172 km) west–east trans-Pennine motorway in Northern England, connecting Liverpool and Hull via Manchester and Leeds; 7 miles (11 km) of the route is shared with the M60 orbital motorway around Manchester. The road is part of the unsigned Euroroutes E20 (Shannon to Saint Petersburg) and E22 (Holyhead to Ishim).

The motorway, which was first proposed in the 1930s, and conceived as two separate routes, was opened in stages between 1971 and 1976, with construction beginning at Pole Moor near Huddersfield and finishing at that time in Tarbock on the outskirts of Liverpool. The motorway absorbed the northern end of the Stretford-Eccles bypass, which was built between 1957 and 1960. Adjusted for inflation to 2007, its construction cost approximately £765 million. The motorway has an average daily traffic flow of 144,000 vehicles in West Yorkshire, and has several sections prone to gridlock, in particular, between Leeds and Huddersfield and the M60 section around Eccles. The M62 coach bombing of 1974 and the Great Heck rail crash of 2001 are the largest incidents to have occurred on the motorway.

Stott Hall Farm, situated between the carriageways on the Pennine section, has become one of the best-known sights on the motorway. The M62 has no junctions numbered 1, 2 or 3, or even an officially numbered 4, because it was intended to start in Liverpool proper, not in its outskirts.

Between Liverpool and Manchester, and east of Leeds, the terrain along which the road passes is relatively flat. Between Manchester and Leeds it traverses the Pennines and its foothills, rising to 1,221 feet (372 m) above sea level slightly east of junction 22 in Calderdale, not far from the boundary between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.


The motorway's origins are found in the 1930s, when the need for a route between Lancashire and Yorkshire had been agreed after discussion by their county highway authorities.[2] At the same time, it was envisaged that a route between Liverpool and Hull was needed to connect the ports to industrial Yorkshire.[3]

After the Second World War, the Minister of Transport appointed engineers to inspect road standards between the A580 road (East Lancashire Road) in Swinton and the A1 road near Selby.[3] The 1949 Road Plan for South Lancashire identified the need to upgrade the A580 to dual carriageway with grade separation and provide bypasses at Huyton and Cadishead.[4] In 1952, the route for a trans-Pennine motorway, the Lancashire–Yorkshire Motorway, was laid down, with Ferrybridge at the eastern terminus rather than Selby.[3] By the 1960s, the proposed A580 upgrade to dual carriageway was considered inadequate, and there was an urgent need to link Liverpool to the motorway network.[4]

The route of the Lancashire-Yorkshire motorway was considered inadequate as it failed to cater for several industrial towns in Yorkshire.[3] When James Drake visited the United States in 1962, his experience of the Interstate Highway System led him to conclude that the Merseyside Expressway, planned to run between Liverpool and the M6, would need to be extended to the Stretford-Eccles Bypass and beyond, to create a continuous motorway between Liverpool and Ferrybridge (a link between Ferrybridge and Hull was not considered until 1964).[5] Initially the plans were unpopular and not supported by the Ministry of Transport, but the scheme was added to the Road Plan in 1963.[4]


Liverpool to Worsley[edit]

It was the intention to build an urban motorway in Liverpool.[6] The M62 was intended to terminate at Liverpool's Inner Motorway, which was not built. The proposed route would have followed the railway into Liverpool as far as Edge Hill, with junctions at Rathbone Road and Durning Road where it would drop to two lanes before terminating at the Islington Radial.[7] Difficulties arose building the Liverpool urban motorway resulting in delays, with the section between Tarbock and Liverpool the last to be completed in 1976. In total, two viaducts, ten bridges and seven underpasses were constructed to secure the structural integrity of the surrounding residential areas. The motorway was constructed only as far as the Queens Drive inner ring road, which is junction 4.[4]

The section west of Manchester was intended to be a separate motorway, the M52 to link Liverpool and Salford, but a continuous motorway between Leeds and Liverpool was deemed more feasible,[8][9] Construction between Liverpool and Manchester started in 1971, with the construction of a link between the M57 and M6 motorways.[4] Simultaneously, a contract to link the M6 with Manchester was underway, which required land drainage and the removal of unsuitable earth. This section was completed in August 1974, creating a continuous link between Ferrybridge and Tarbock.

In Greater Manchester[edit]

Construction starting in Milnrow, 1968

Two motorways were planned, the M52 from Liverpool to Salford and the M62 to link Pole Moor with the Stretford–Eccles Bypass.[8] The first part of the M62 to be built was the Stretford–Eccles Bypass, which is now the section between Junctions 7 to 13 of the M60.[10] Construction started in 1957, and the motorway opened in 1960. It was originally built as a 2-lane motorway only. It was later re-numbered M63.[11] The section between the interchange with the Stretford-Eccles Bypass and Salford is now occupied by the M602 motorway.

The Eccles–Pole Moor section opened in 1971.[12][13] Between Eccles and Pole Moor, 67 motorway crossings were required, including seven viaducts and eight junctions.[4] Much of the Worsley Braided Interchange was built on undeveloped mossland where deep peat deposits had been covered with waste. Between Worsley and Milnrow, some underlying coal seams were still actively worked when the motorway was constructed and allowances had to be made to counteract possible future subsidence.[14] The motorway crosses the Irwell Valley and the Pendleton Fault[15] on a 200-foot (61 m) single-span bridge 65 feet (20 m) above the river.[16]

Milnrow to Outlane[edit]

M62 Summit sign

Surveying for the Pennine section began in November 1961 and its route was determined in July 1963.[17] Construction between Windy Hill and Pole Moor was difficult through inhospitable hilly terrain, peat bogs, and in undesirable weather conditions. The motorway's highest point, 1,221 feet (372 m) above sea level at Windy Hill near Denshaw (53°37′47″N 2°01′07″W / 53.62982°N 2.018561°W / 53.62982; -2.018561 (Windy Hill)) is the highest point of any motorway in England.[18]

A notable structure between junctions 21 and 22 on the uphill section towards Windy Hill is the Rakewood Viaduct which carries the road over the Longden End Brook.[19]

The first section of the motorway in Yorkshire was completed between the county boundary at Windy Hill and Outlane in 1970.[1][20] To build this section, 12,000,000 cubic yards (9,200,000 m3) of material was moved, 8,000,000 cubic yards (6,100,000 m3) of which was solid rock and 650,000 cubic yards (500,000 m3) of peat which had to be cut from the rock strata and deposited on adjacent hillsides. The geology of the moors resulted in the engineers splitting the carriageways for 34 mile (1.2 km) in the middle of this section, sparing Stott Hall Farm from demolition.[20][21]

The motorway crosses Scammonden Dam on an embankment between junctions 22 and 23. Preparatory work in the Deanhead Valley began in August 1964 and the dam in 1966. The motorway's opening on 20 December 1970 was dependent on completion of the dam.[22] Two other notable constructions on the Pennine section are the pedestrian bridge carrying the Pennine Way, which is curved downwards with 85-foot (26 m) long cantilevers, and Scammonden Bridge, the longest single-span non-suspension bridge in the world when it was built.[20][23] It carries a B road 120 feet (37 m) above the motorway.[20] The 1-mile (1.6 km) section between Pole Moor and Outlane suffered fewer problems as the summer weather was satisfactory.[24]

Southerly view from Booth Moor, Calderdale, of the M62 motorway from Scammonden Bridge to Windy Hill. Stott Hall Farm can be seen between the east and westbound carriageways

Outlane to Lofthouse[edit]

Stationary traffic at Lofthouse Interchange

The section of the motorway between Gildersome and Lofthouse was built at the same time, resulting in the demolition of a significant proportion of the village of Tingley to build the eponymous interchange.[1]

Lofthouse Interchange was built between 1965 and 1967. Owen Williams and the Babtie Group were the engineers. Located where the M62 crosses above the M1 motorway, it is a complex three-level junction with eight bridges including a roundabout supported by four long curved bridges on 12-metre piers above both motorways. The roundabout's north and south bridges have spans of 28 metres and the east and west have spans of 21 metres. The M62 overbridge has a reinforced concrete multi-cellular deck of four spans. Two other pre-stressed reinforced concrete bridges carry slip roads over Longthorpe Lane, the B6135. Another bridge with no motorway access carries Longthorpe Lane over the M1.[25]

Two skew tunnels were constructed beneath the original junction between 1996 and 1999. The tunnels, constructed using the cut-and-cover method, are for traffic travelling between the M1 south-bound and the M62 west. The tunnel under the M62 is 147 metres in length.[25]

East of Lofthouse[edit]

The Ouse Bridge, from the floodplain adjacent to the river

Two contracts were awarded for the section between Lofthouse and Ferrybridge in 1972, and both were completed in 1974.[26][27] On the first contract, care was needed at the River Calder crossing due to the alluvial bedrock. On the second contract precautions were taken as the length was built on old coal mine workings.

The section between Ferrybridge and North Cave was the last to be planned[5] and built.[12] The Ouse Bridge, across the River Ouse west of Goole, commenced in January 1973 and is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long and rises to 98.4 feet (30.0 m) above ground level. Completion of the bridge was delayed due to "steel supplies [being] a chronic headache" and a partial collapse of the framework caused by bolts joining a cross-beam to a trestle shearing.[5] Problems with the bridge delayed the opening of the section east of Goole to May 1976.[5][12]


Junction 32a during construction in September 2005

In 1987, the Department of Transport proposed a parallel relief road to combat congestion around Manchester. It would have been restricted to long-distance traffic, and the current route, part of the Manchester Outer Ring Road (later the M60), used for local traffic. The proposal suggested the closure of junction 13. The proposal was designated a "long term" improvement in 1994, and cancelled on 23 November 1995.[28]

In 2000, the section between Eccles Interchange and Simister Interchange (junctions 12 to 18) was designated the M60.[29] Since then, two junctions were opened—in December 2002, the missing junction 8 was opened to allow access to the A574 and the Omega Development Site,[30] while in January 2006, junction 32a was opened to link to the upgraded A1(M).[31] The UK's first motorway high-occupancy vehicle lane was opened at junction 26 in 2008 for eastbound traffic from the M606 with more than one occupant.[32]

Smart motorway[edit]

Pre-2009 proposals to widen the motorway between junctions 25 and 28 to four lanes were withdrawn in January 2009 and replaced by a project to install hard shoulder running and a smart motorway system between junctions 25 and 30.[33] Work started in 2014 to install the system around the M62 – M60 section.[34]


1999–2006 traffic flow graph

The section between junctions 18 (with the M60) and 29 (with the M1) through Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire has been identified as one of the most congested roads in Britain.[35][36] The motorway provides a direct link between three of the five largest metro areas in England, and is the most practical route for HGVs and other commercial traffic between Manchester and Leeds. There are a significant amount of warehouses in these urban areas, which require commercial delivery to the ports at Merseyside and around the Humber, all of which are transported via the M62.[35]

Annual average daily traffic flows of 100,000 cars were recorded east of the Pennines (junction 22) in 2006 and 78,000 cars west of the Pennines.[37] The figures were increases from 90,000 and 70,000 respectively in 1999.[38] By way of comparison, the UK's busiest motorway, the M25 carried 144,000 cars between junctions 7 and 23 in 2006.[37]

Stott Hall Farm[edit]

Stott Hall Farm, viewed from moorland above westbound carriageway

Stott Hall Farm, (53°38′30″N 01°57′07″W / 53.64167°N 1.95194°W / 53.64167; -1.95194 (Stott Hall Farm)) the only farm in the UK situated in the middle of a motorway,[39] was built in the 18th century on Moss Moor. It lies south of Booth Wood Reservoir where the carriageways are separated between junctions 22 and 23.[21][40][41] The road divides for much of its length between the Windy Hill and Deanhead cuttings because of the surrounding geography but a myth[42] persists that it was split because the owners Ken and Beth Wild refused to sell.[40] Sally Boazman, BBC Radio 2's traffic reporter and CB radio users nicknamed it the Little House on the Prairie. It is separated from the motorway by crash barriers and a fence to keep livestock in and prevent out-of-control vehicles crashing onto the property.[21][43] It is one of the ten best-known sights on the motorway network.[44][43] It was the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary, a Yorkshire Television documentary[45] and a short film.[46]

Major incidents[edit]

On 4 February 1974, a bomb was detonated on a coach travelling between Chain Bar (junction 26) and Gildersome (junction 27). The coach was transporting off-duty army personnel and their family members. Twelve people were killed and 38 were injured. Hartshead Moor services was used as a makeshift hospital and base for investigations.[47] The Provisional Irish Republican Army was deemed responsible.[47][48] A memorial to the victims was erected at Hartshead Moor services in 2009.[49]

The Selby rail crash happened on 28 February 2001, at 06:13 after Gary Hart, a sleep-deprived driver, swerved off the M62 onto the East Coast Main Line near Selby. While he was calling the emergency services, a GNER southbound train collided with his Land Rover and derailed into the path of an oncoming goods train. Ten people were killed, including the drivers of both trains, and 82 others were injured.[50] Hart was later convicted of 10 counts of causing death by dangerous driving, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

On 1 March 2018, a Highways England car fire in severe weather conditions (the beast from the East) caused up to 3,500 vehicles to become trapped on the eastbound Pennine section between Junctions 20 and 24. Up to 200 people, including a baby, spent the night in their vehicles. The military, mountain rescue, fire services and Highways England worked alongside the police through the night to ensure people's safety. Members of the public who lived in Milnrow and Newhey climbed up onto the motorway with food and drinks for the trapped people in their cars and trucks. A barrier between the carriageways was removed to facilitate moving most of the vehicles. The road remained closed the next day due to the weather conditions.[51][52]


The M62's route in relation to the four major cities it serves: Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull

In addition to passing Warrington, Manchester, Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, the towns of Huyton, St Helens, Widnes, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Pontefract, Selby and Goole are designated primary destinations along the road.

The M62 is a terminus to two motorways: the M57 near Prescot and the M18 near Rawcliffe; and has four spur routes: the M602, which serves Manchester, the A627(M), which serves Oldham and Rochdale, the M606, which serves Bradford, and the M621, which serves Leeds.

Despite Hull being listed as a primary destination,[53] the motorway downgrades near North Cave, 16 miles (26 km) to the west.[1][54]

The western end of the motorway is at Queen's Drive, on Liverpool's middle ring road from where it runs eastward to the outer ring road, the M57. The route has four exits for Warrington: junction 7, an interchange with the A57 road, junction 8, which also houses IKEA, junction 9, which interchanges with the A49 road, which was intended to be a motorway, and junction 11. Between these is junction 10, which is a cloverstack interchange with the M6. The M62 crosses Chat Moss before interchanging with the M60 motorway. Owing to the original plan to extend this section of the motorway into Manchester, motorists must turn off to stay on (a TOTSO) the route into Yorkshire.

In Greater Manchester, the motorway shares seven junctions, 12 to 18, with the M60 motorway. Junction 13, signposted Swinton, is situated 12 mile (0.80 km) from junction 12, leaving exiting motorists the hazard of crossing the still-merging M62 traffic.[55] Worsley Braided Interchange serves Junctions 14 and 15 and Junctions 1 to 3 of the M61 which terminates to Preston.

M62 passes Scammonden Water in West Yorkshire

Between junction 21 and junction 22, the motorway has four lanes eastbound to climb Windy Hill,[56] before crossing the border into Yorkshire and interchanging with the rural A672 road, reaching the highest point of any motorway in England 1,221 feet (372 m).[18] There is then a 7-mile (11 km) travel through the Pennines to the next junction, passing Scammonden Reservoir and Stott Hall Farm. The next junction is 23, which is accessible only for westbound traffic. After this, the road dips through a valley to junction 24 and drops slowly before interchanging with the A644 road at junction 25. Between junctions 22 and 25, the road is used as a border between the metropolitan boroughs of Calderdale and Kirklees.[57]

At junction 26, Chain Bar, the motorway interchanges with several roads: the M606, a spur into Bradford, the A58 road, which runs between Prescot and Wetherby, and the A638 road, which runs to Doncaster, then follows the old route of the A1 through Bawtry and Retford, to Markham Moor where it rejoins the A1. The next junction also serves a spur route: the M621 motorway, before bypassing Leeds to the south to the interchange with the M1 motorway, Lofthouse Interchange, at junction 29. East of Leeds, the motorway serves Wakefield at junction 30 and crosses by the River Calder. At junction 32a, the road is crossed by the A1(M) motorway, which also runs parallel to it for a short distance. The next junction 33 serves the A162 and A1 roads, and Ferrybridge service station. After Ferrybridge, the motorway becomes relatively flat. At junction 35, the motorway meets with the northern terminus of the M18 at a triangle (semi-directioinal-T) interchange. Soon after, there is a 1-mile (1.6 km) bridge that crosses the River Ouse. For approximately 10 miles (16 km) after this, the road runs towards Hull, serving Howden and North Cave, before downgrading to the A63 road.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[58][59]

M62 motorway junctions
mile km Westbound exits (B Carriageway) Junction Eastbound exits (A Carriageway)
No access (on-slip only) [coord 1] Knotty Ash, Childwall, Broadgreen UK traffic sign 827.1.svg, British Rail - colour reversed logo.svg A5080
Non-motorway traffic
End of motorway Mauritius Road Signs - Information Sign - End of Motorway.svg
Road continues as
A5080 towards Liverpool
Start of motorway UK motorway symbol.svg
Knotty Ash, Huyton A5080 J5 Huyton A5080
7.9 12.7 Liverpool (S) & Airport interchange A5300, Huyton A5080
Southport M57
J6 Prescot M57, Runcorn, M56 A5300
10.2 16.5 Widnes A557, Prescot A57, St. Helens A570 J7 St. Helens A570, Warrington A57, Widnes A557
Entering Merseyside Entering Cheshire
14.5 23.3 Warrington (West) (A574)
Burtonwood services
Warrington (West) (A574)
Burtonwood services
16.6 26.7 Warrington, Newton A49 J9 Warrington (Central), Newton A49
Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg
18.1 29.1 Birmingham, Chester (M56) M6(S)
Preston M6(N)
[coord 2]
Preston M6(N)
Birmingham, Manchester (S) & Airport interchange M6(S)
20.7 33.4 Warrington (East), Birchwood A574 J11 Warrington (East), Birchwood A574
End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg
Entering Cheshire Entering Greater Manchester
26.9 43.3 End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg J12
[coord 3]
Manchester Airport interchange M60(S&E)
Manchester City Centre, Salford M602
Start of motorway Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg
Concurrency with M60
35.1 56.5 Ring Road (E & S), Manchester (E & C), Manchester Airport interchange M60(E)
Blackburn, Bury M66
[coord 4]
Start of motorway
37.8 60.9 Birch services Services Birch services
40.1 64.5 Middleton, Heywood A6046 J19 Middleton, Heywood A6046
42.5 68.4 Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg J20 Rochdale, Oldham A627(M)
Rochdale, Oldham A627(M) End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg
43.7 70.3 Milnrow, Shaw (A640) J21 Milnrow, Shaw (A640)
Rakewood Viaduct
Entering Greater Manchester Entering West Yorkshire
46.8 75.4 Saddleworth A672 J22 Ripponden, Saddleworth A672, Sowerby Bridge (A58)
54.0 86.9 No access (on-slip only) J23 Huddersfield (West) A640
55.5 89.4 Huddersfield, Halifax A629 J24 Huddersfield, Halifax A629
59.1 95.2 End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg J25 Brighouse, Dewsbury A644
Huddersfield (A62), Brighouse A644 Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg
60.6 97.7 Hartshead Moor services Services Hartshead Moor services
62.5 100.7 Halifax A58
Bradford M606
[coord 5]
Cleckheaton A638
Bradford, Leeds Bradford Airport interchange M606
66.5 107.1 Batley A62 J27 Batley A62
Leeds M621
69.7 112.2 Leeds, Leeds Bradford Airport interchange, Dewsbury A653 J28 Dewsbury A653
72.3 116.5 The South M1(S)
Leeds (M621) M1(N)
[coord 6]
The North, Leeds M1(N)
The South, Wakefield M1(S)
Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg J30 Rothwell, Wakefield A642
Wakefield, Rothwell A642 End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg
77.7 125.2 Normanton, Castleford A655 J31 Castleford, Normanton A655
80.5 129.7 Pontefract, Castleford A639 J32 Pontefract, Castleford A639
The North, Wetherby A1(M) J32A
[coord 7]
The North, The South A1(M)
84.7 136.4 The South A1, Pontefract A645
Ferrybridge services
[coord 8]
Ferrybridge A162
Ferrybridge services
Entering West Yorkshire Entering North Yorkshire
Selby, Doncaster A19 J34 Selby, Doncaster A19
Entering North Yorkshire Entering East Riding of Yorkshire
The South, Doncaster M18, Scunthorpe, Humberside Airport interchange, Doncaster Sheffield Airport interchange (M180) J35 The South M18, Scunthorpe, Humberside Airport interchange, Doncaster Sheffield Airport interchange (M180)
Goole A614 J36 Goole A614
Ouse Bridge
Howden A614, Selby (A63) J37 Bridlington, York, Howden A614
Start of motorway UK motorway symbol.svg J38
[coord 9]
North Cave, Gilberdyke
Newport B1230
Non-motorway traffic
End of motorway Mauritius Road Signs - Information Sign - End of Motorway.svg
Road continues as
A63 towards Hull
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Coordinate list[edit]



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  52. ^ Ballinger, Lauren (2 March 2018). "200 cars were trapped on M62 all night with passengers inside say say police". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  53. ^ Google (20 April 2013). "Streetview – J30 ADS" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  54. ^ Google (20 April 2013). "Streetview – End of Motorway Sign" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  55. ^ Marshall, Chris. "M60 Clockwise – Junction 13". Motorway simulator. Chris's British Road Directory. Retrieved 17 November 2007.[dead link]
  56. ^ Google (20 April 2013). "Streetview – lane gain" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  57. ^ "Waste Management Strategy" (PDF). Calderdale MBC. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
  58. ^ M62 Network Schematic showing extents of the Driver Location Signs Scheme within Area 12, Highway Authority 2009
  59. ^ Highway Authority (2009). Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (Map). Highway Authority.


  • Johnson, E.Peter (1972). The Trans-Pennine Motorway M62. Dalesman. ISBN 0-85206-161-7.

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