Unravelling the mysteries of the Eastern Bypass
If you live in Clayton or Higher Openshaw, you would wonder why there are two roads known as the Eastern Bypass. The northern section (seen above) looks like your typical dual carriageway and could be mistaken for other roads around Manchester. The southern end of Eastern Bypass – by contrast – wouldn’t look out of place in Letchworth with a garden city ambience (resembling a boulevard rather than a typical grey dual carriageway).
Sometime before the M60 opened proper in October 2000, there were earlier plans for an inner ring road. Instead of being elevated or built through cuttings, this road would have been built at surface level and controlled with traffic lights. Therefore, not being totally segregated from A roads (other than by means of junctions), would have seen the Eastern Bypass as a non-motorway standard road, akin to Mauldeth Road West and the East Lancashire Road.
Plans for the Eastern Bypass were mentioned in map form in Manchester Corporation’s 1945 ‘City of Manchester Plan’, allocated the number D/23. Had it opened in its complete form, this blog may well have been called ‘East of the D/23’. The same map also included plans for a further outer ring road, uncannily close to the route of today’s M60 motorway, the aborted A6(M) relief road and a section of dual carriageway near Handforth. The latter would have led to the dual carriageway link from Junction 5 of the M56 for Manchester Airport.
Parts of what would have been the Eastern Bypass also included Hardy Lane, possibly Mauldeth Road and Wayland Road South. If fully realised, Eastern Bypass may have taken the following route:
1. A665 (Cheetham Hill Road) – A662 (Ashton New Road):
- From the A665 (Cheetham Hill Road) along Crescent Road. A new section would have been built between the end of Crescent Road up to the start of Ash Street, absorbing Carisbrook Street;
- From Carisbrook Street, a new section would have been built up to Oldham Road. Part of which would follow the newly constructed dual carriageway known as ‘The Gateway’;
- At Oldham Road, D/23 then follows Ten Acres Lane. A new section linking Ten Acres Lane with Clayton Street would have meant trying to build around Bank Bridge Road (in the late 1940s, Bank Bridge was still used by the Clayton Aniline Company as a private connection with BR metals);
- The junction of Clayton Street and Hartington Drive assumes another possible form of preparatory work. Municipal housing was built with a good ten feet worth of pavement space between front gardens and the single carriageway road. One wonders whether the single carriageway version of Hartington Drive would have been a stopgap prior to eventual upgrade as the Eastern Bypass;
- From the junction of Ravensbury Street and Hartington Drive, a short section of dual carriageway would link with Vale Street. The present shopping parade assumes some leanings to a future dual carriageway section which would continue to the junction of Canberra Street and Stanton Street;
- From the junction of Canberra Street and Stanton Street, we see the northern section of the Eastern Bypass leading to Schofield Street and Ashton New Road.
2. A662 (Ashton New Road) – A6 (Wellington Road North):
- A new section of road would have been built between Ashton New Road and Crabtree Lane, leading us to the southern section of the Eastern Bypass;
- Thereafter, Sandywell Street would have been expanded to dual carriageway status with the road reaching Ashton Old Road. A new junction would link D/23 with Lees Street – which, along with Sandywell Street would have been doubled;
- After Gorton and Openshaw railway station, D/23 would follow Constable Street and part of Abbey Hey Lane close to the primary school. A new section of dual carriageway would link Abbey Hey Close with Tan Yard Brow, which would have been realigned to Hyde Road and Far Lane;
- From there, it would link up with Wayland Road and Wayland Road South, continuing to Nelstrop Road North, following the whole of that road;
- From Nelstrop Road North, Norfolk Avenue would have been extended to meet the former road, thus meeting Wellington Road North.
3. A6 (Wellington Road North) – Hardy Lane:
- D/23 would nestle behind the McVitie’s and Fairey’s works with a new road linking Norfolk Avenue with the present alignment of Avon Road. By then, slight realignment would see D/23 follow Mauldeth Road;
- In readiness for future expansion, municipal housing on both sides of Mauldeth Road (Withington end) have been set back to allow for dual carriageway conversion;
- Further proof of this is seen towards the Old Moat end of Withington along Mauldeth Road West. Our suspicions are confirmed on reaching Princess Road (A5103) where Mauldeth Road West becomes a dual carriageway afterwards;
- From Princess Road, the rest of Mauldeth Road West is a dual carriageway all the way up to the junction of Barlow Moor Road (A5145) and Hardy Lane;
- As with parts of Mauldeth Road and Wayland Road, further housing is set back from the road at Hardy Lane. Hardy Lane, besides being converted to a dual carriageway, would have been extended to meet today’s Junction 6 of the M60 motorway. This would have absorbed Rifle Road and the Jackson’s Boat public house along the side of the River Mersey.
It was stated in the 1962 SELNEC Highway Plan that D/23 would have been an extension of Broadway. The route would have taken in Clayton Vale, Edge Lane and Gorton, by means of a disused railway alignment, linking up with Hyde Road. It would reach Levenshulme and Fallowfield via Moseley Road and Wilbraham Road. Thereafter it would reach the A56 (Chester Road) at Stretford.
Beyond Wayland Road South, D/23 could have followed Holmcroft Road instead of Nelstrop Road North, linking up with Matthews Lane or Barlow Road. Any of the two roads could have a junction with Stockport Road (A6) with a new road linking Slade Lane and the dual carriageway at Kingsway. This assumption may be congruent with the 1962 SELNEC Highway Plan’s theory of linking the Moseley Road dual carriageway with Stretford.
Over to you:
Do you have any other possible theories on the route of the Eastern Bypass, had it been completed? Feel free to add any further comments on the subject.
S.V., 05 June 2011.