M60 - A560

Name
Lower Bredbury Interchange

Where is it?

M60 junction 26, where Manchester's ring road motorway interchanges with the parallel A560, allowing westbound to westbound and, er, westbound to westbound movements. The locals sometimes call it "Bredbury scissors" for obvious reasons.

It was nominated by Peter Edwardson.

What's wrong with it?

You might have no trouble working out which way your car should be facing on a motorway, but across the UK, wrong-way driving incidents are surprisingly common. They are usually caused by a nervous or confused driver in unfamiliar territory turning the wrong way onto a sliproad and ending up nosing their way through oncoming traffic. Thankfully, motorway interchanges are carefully designed to minimise the chances of that happening by angling and aligning sliproads so it's difficult to get on to them in the wrong direction.

So, with all that said: welcome to Bredbury Interchange, a junction carefully designed so that it is incredibly easy to get on the M60 in the wrong direction. You can see the problem quite easily: three streams of traffic cross over each other at a single point, controlled by traffic lights, and each stream must traverse the junction to reach just one specific road onwards. If you're travelling eastbound on the A560, heading for the M60, which you can see to your left, the sliproad leading away to the left towards the motorway must look tempting. And sure enough, Bredbury is a known hotspot for wrong-way motorway driving.

Why is it wrong?

"Braiding" is a term that highway engineers use for crossover bridges between overlapping sliproads. They let streams of traffic cross paths without stopping. Worsley Braided Interchange on the M61, not far away on the other side of Manchester, is a fine example of this sort of design.

Here at Bredbury, a situation exists where a sliproad entering the M60 from Bredbury must cross a sliproad exiting the M60 towards Stockport. Braiding would be the ideal thing to do with them. But braiding is expensive, and a skidpan of tarmac with ambiguous exits and a set of three-way traffic lights is cheap, so it should be no surprise that Bredbury never got to be Braidbury. The result of that decision to opt for a low-cost solution, rather than an expensive one that would be both cheaper and a better pun, is this junction.

What would be better?

A start could be made with clearer signage. Even now, approaching the junction from any angle, the sliproads carrying traffic towards you lack any particularly conspicuous "no entry" signs. Big, clear "no entry" signs should be the first order of the day. Overhead signs mounted above the exits would also serve to pull traffic through in the right direction.

A more ambitious fix would involve one simple flyover. A bridge, on the line of the existing road, carrying the eastbound A560 over the top of the crossover point would not be much of an engineering problem; the biggest issue would be diverting eastbound traffic out of the way while you build it. With that in place, the crossover would still be signalised, but it would only be two streams of traffic crossing, and they'd both be going in the same direction - so while there would be some limited scope for people to pick the wrong exit, no exit would bring them to actual harm.

Routes
Region

Right to reply

Andrew Bowden 7 April 2017

I'm with Iain Benson. That merger from the A560 onto the M60 going north is horrible. I hate doing it, but unfortunately it's my local junction to the M60. Going north is quite maddening. You get forced onto the fast lane and can easily get stuck there as all the M60 traffic comes rushing in from the other lanes meaning it's very difficult to get yourself out. Thankfully I don't use it during rush hour as I can imagine it would be horrendous.

To be honest, much of the M60 through Stockport is a mess, partly caused by the botching together of two motorways into one, and partly due to sheer lack of space to do anything proper.

Floyd 13 April 2017

Not an ideal junction, agreed, but there are no need for any problems here. There are 'No Entry' signs in the correct places, so no one should be going the wrong way up slip-roads. And traffic lights at the end of slip-roads are a common occurrence in England so that shouldn't be causing any problems either, (especially as advanced warning is given on the overhead gantry as you leave the M60 that there are traffic lights ahead).

Anonymous 28 August 2018

It would be easier to make adjustments to junction 27 and only have the M60 to A560 slip to create full access for the area.

I've suggested the same thing myself. Can't see why a westbound slip to the M60 couldn't be squeezed in off the roundabout.

Stephen 26 February 2021

If a clockwise access slip road was added to J25, this junction could then be closed off completely, as there would be no need for the A560 to M60 slip road, and would then be 2 free flowing lanes on the A560. While realising this would mean no M60-A560 access, a fully functioning J25 would likely make up for the closure of this junction, while having J27 as a west facing junction only.

But why do that when you already have a westbound (clockwise) access at junc 27 that A560 traffic can use? Use junc 25 for all other movements to/from the north. Close 26.

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