M60 - M62 - M66

Simister Island

Where is it?

M60 junction 18, the notional north-east corner of a circular road, where the M62 merges in for a multiplex around the northern section, and the M66 terminates.

What's wrong with it?

This is essentially the dictionary definition of the word "shambles". Quite aside from the fact that it's another of those evil concoctions, the three-level stacked roundabout, which is laughably under-capacity for such an interchange despite having huge renovations when the M60 was created, its main fault is that the through route doesn't go through it.

Make the simple, forgivable assumption that to stay on the M60 you continue straight on, and you will end up on the M62 or M66, depending on which direction you came from. There's no way to ignore it: to stay on the M60 you either have a tight left-turn sliproad or (worse) the problem of negotiating a six-lane roundabout with traffic lights. On a motorway. Wow.

Why is it wrong?

There's a simple reason for this one. When the junction was built, it was the crossing point of two motorways, the M62 and M66. Considering the M66 finished about two miles south of here, and didn't go that much further to the north, this was just fine and dandy.

When the M60 was created as a Manchester ring road, it was mostly done out of bits and pieces of existing motorway around Manchester — it used the south end of the M66 and the M62 around the north of the city, and so it had to pass through this junction. It's been modified to have six lanes around the roundabout and signs and traffic lights everywhere, but the fact remains that it's still a roundabout!

What would be better?

How about making the M60 free-flowing? It doesn't have to be the priority route through the junction (the M62 takes most of the traffic) — just something to prevent a continuously numbered motorway from passing through three sets of traffic lights. How about tunnelling under as at M1/M62? Still bad, but better than this.


Right to reply

Andison 16 August 2018

I’ve been looking at ways to improve this junction ever since I discovered the Bad Junctions page, and I then found out something the French do quite often - a sort of “double trumpet” interchange. Considering this double trumpet only needs one large patch and two smaller patches of land to fit, I believe this idea could work if it was built to the northeast of the current roundabout (so a little further along the M62 and M66) to avoid the town of Simister. To alleviate the issue of traffic needing to get into their proper lanes on the long sliproad, I believe that segregating the two flows and providing a flyover for one flow in order for it to reach the correct side would work. The only trouble is a golf course in the way...and that ideally I should be explaining this with a diagram of sorts.

Two trumpets servicing each other is also pretty common in countries that commonly utilize tolled roads/motorways, ie. Japan and Poland (France is one of them as well).

It's possible to shove one of them just to the north of the current stack. Or we can peel off the stuff we don't need and just keep those that'd actually improve conditions.

If only HE and TfGM would consider it !

Frustrated 8 November 2018

I use this junction daily. trying to continue on the M60 in a clockwise direction. At best it takes 30 minutes to get round this stupid obstruction. Now since the new supposed "Smart Motorway" is working (not) in my opinion it has made things worse. Believe me it is easier avoiding the whole setup. This needs some serious consideration. Flyover, tunnel or some other unrestricted flow.
Remove the need to impede traffic through several set of lights that are always out of sync. resulting in tail backs in every direction even through traffic on the East and West M62.

One of the most time-saving exercises you can take when heading to this roundabout is if you're heading North up the M60 (from Middleton/Oldham), and are wishing to then continue on the M60 towards the M61, don't be silly and move into the heavily congested free-flowing left hand lane. Instead just use the second lane in (Signposted Leeds) and at the actual roundabout, just take the first exit.

This would probably apply to EVERY left hand turn anyone wishes to make at this junction, but the example I mentioned seems to be most effective.

It actually makes perfect sense traffic wise too - there's actually a relatively small amount of traffic that travels north up the M60 from Middleton/Oldham and then turns RIGHT at the roundabout onto the M62 Eastbound - the reason being is if these drivers know their way around, they'd know to have just come off the M60 at J21 and travel to the M62 via the A627(M) and not Simister Island, it's much more direct and quicker.
There really should be 2 lanes and not just 1 which free-flow around the corner here.

JANAK 14 May 2019

Make M60, M62 and M66 a 4 level stack interchange.

Edward 15 May 2019

Personally I do not agree with the earlier comment. We should not be encouraging traffic to go up Broadway to the A627M which goes past schools and houses and in my experience it takes ages to complete the 2 right turns required to get to Broadway. Certainly quicker to go up to Simster Island and turn right onto the M62 in my experience. Coming the other way its 2 left turns so less clear cut but I still don't think we should be sending traffic up Broadway.

Road5914 30 September 2019

It was announced today that improvements to this junction will be one of the first RIS2 schemes. What is proposed I don't know, but I hope it will be coordinated with the M60 north-west quadrant study...

KrozJr in response to Andrew Booth 24 June 2020

In reply to by Andrew Booth

The article is wrong though when it says that it’s the only place where you turn off to stay on (TOTSO) a British motorway. It’s certainly the worst, but other offenders include both ends of the M6 Toll (TOTSO on M6), M25 j5 (Chevening), M1 j43 and j48 (TOTSOs on M1 and A1(M), respectively), M42 j3A, and (arguably) M62 j12 (although this could be argued instead to be the start of a multiplex so inherently has a TOTSO built in).

I hate to be that guy, but...

The article has been edited so it no longer contains the error. I did read it before it was changed and I thought the same as KrozJr

First line of the article calls it the only place in Britain where you turn off to stay on the same motorway. Literally the first line.

You must have a different version to me then. Mine says; ''M60 junction 18, the notional north-east corner of a circular road, where the M62 merges in for a multiplex around the northern section, and the M66 terminates''.

Floyd, the conversation is about the Manchester Evening News article linked in Andrew's comment above, not the Bad Junctions article. The first line of the newspaper article reads "It is the only motorway in England where drivers have to come off to carry on their journey on the same motorway."

None of those involve taking the third exit at a roundabout though!

You are right this doesn't include a third exit, but you still have to go across an at-grade roundabout with traffic light control to traverse the full glory of the M271 Docklands motorway in Southampton!

Jonathan - the A627(M) just a few miles from Simister also has a huge roundabout on its mainline

Alex Smith 1 February 2021

Looks like there's now a plan to fix this.

It seems that the plan is to keep the existing junction to handle minor movements (and the M62 straight on movement, which works well enough as it is), and add two extra freeflow movements, the "turning movements" that connect the M60 to itself (the clockwise "right" is via a loop in the northern corner). OK, so anticlockwise is technically freeflow at the moment, but it doesn't actually flow freely, so they're replacing the existing link there with a better one.

Taking major movements away from the roundabout like this seems quite likely to fix the junction, which probably has enough capacity to handle everything that remains.

Which was suggested on here by many people, years ago.

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