Liverpool Inner Motorway:
The urban M62

It is not betraying any great secret to reveal that the M62 was meant to end in central Liverpool. The question is what the exact route would have been and where it would have ended. This page will try to answer that question. Click any image to see a full size version.

A document produced by Liverpool's city engineer in 1974, two years before the section between the M57 and the current terminus opened (which suggests it was published as construction began on this part), confirms that the M62 should have ended on the never-built LIM.

The obvious reason that the M62 was never finished is that the LIM was never built, though the document does outline at least one option to allow completion of the route independently of the LIM.

The Liverpool network

A road network for Merseyside. Click to enlarge
A road network for Merseyside. Click to enlarge

This diagram from the book, showing the planned network for Merseyside, shows not only a finished M62 connecting to the LIM, but also a new road that is referenced by name as far back as the 1950's, the Main North South Primary (MNSP). This appears to be an extension of the M58 that bypasses the city centre, crosses the Mersey in one of the alternative locations investigated for the second tunnel, and then crosses the Wirral and heads, rather improbably, into the Dee Estuary. The plan also shows the M62 appearing to connect directly to the Kingsway Tunnel, though this is not suggested anywhere else in the document.

It is interesting that even though no progress had been made in the twelve years since the LIM proposal was first made, the City Engineer was still optimistic about its construction in 1974. The completion of the M62 was so definite that the document refers to the homes that had already been demolished along the line - totalling 199 at the time of going to press - though most were due for replacement as part of a council scheme anyway.

The route

The document shows an original plan for the M62 and a newer, revised one. Both are shown below.

Two alternative plans for the M62. Click to enlarge
Two alternative plans for the M62. Click to enlarge

The route was essentially following the rail line in towards the city, approximately as far as Edge Hill station, with three lanes each way. At Durning Road, there would have been an east-facing junction where one lane was dropped; Durning Road and Upper Parliament Street were to be dualled as part of the scheme to provide access to the south of the city centre from here.

The remaining two lanes of the M62 would then enter twin two-lane bored tunnels, emerging at a final west-facing junction, and heading west along the line of Islington to end at a three-way junction near Lime Street Station.

Given that space was made over and under bridges on the section east of junction 4, it can be assumed that a fourth lane would terminate at Queens Drive (the ring road).

Route options

The Engineer proposed a set of route options for the M62. He stated that they could potentially be used to complete the M62 at reduced cost, but they were really intended to be used to complete the original plan in stages. The three main variations are detailed below (unfortunately not all the text is legible as they are taken from photocopies).

Option 1

Option 1

A full three-lane M62 enters Liverpool as planned, but terminates all three lanes on Durning Road, handing it to the dualled link to Upper Parliament Street. The City Engineer warned that this could only be a temporary solution - permanently omitting the tunnels would have serious implications for the primary route network.

Option 2

Option 2

This option saves the cost of dualling existing city streets by omitting the Upper Parliament Street link. The junction with Durning Road is also omitted, leaving a three-lane M62 narrowing arbitrarily to two lanes to fit through the tunnels to Islington. This option would require investigation of the capacity of the LIM.

Option 3

Option 3

Had it been built, this would have provided an interesting anomoly on the motorway network. The M62 drops a lane prematurely at either Queens Drive or Rathbone Road, then drops another lane at Durning Road, allowing a two lane single-carriageway tunnel to Islington. This would have cost far less but had serious safety and capacity concerns - as well as having a trunk road motorway reduced to single carriageway.

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