The M60 is one of the newer motorways in the UK, which took over 40 years to build. It is the UK’s only circular motorway with no real start or end. It first opened in 2000 when existing sections of the M63, M62 and the M66 joined together to make up what is now junctions 19-24 of the M60. The huge motorway is also known as the Manchester Ring Motorway or the Manchester Outer Ring and loops a huge 35-mile circumference of Greater Manchester.
When first opening in 2000 it created over 3,000 jobs in the area, which increases year on year. The M60 was the last ever publicly-funded motorway building project within the UK and was built to give ideal throughflow around the area’s major cities and landmarks. This has been known to cause some slow moving traffic - its location means it’s bound to be used by a lot of drivers.
The M60 goes under 68 bridges and 27 junctions, and starts at junction 1 in Stockport before moving clockwise to Sale, Trafford, Worsley, Middleton, Ashton-under-Lyne and then looping back to Stockport. The M60 has no service stations, so make sure you have enough fuel before you enter the great ring road.
As well as the surrounding cities in the north, Rochdale, Oldham, Bury, Bolton, Salford and Altrincham are just some of the major towns that benefit from the M60 as it provides a quicker route around and out of Manchester. Traveling from Sale to Oldham used to take up to an hour via the A56, but with the M60 the journey time has halved.
Worst Junctions on the M60
All of the M60’s junctions can be problematic if you miss your turning, as the long loop back around can be time consuming. Make sure you plan and be sure to check for the latest M60 travel news and traffic updates before departing for your journey.
These are the most common problematic junctions you may want to avoid on the M60.
Denton Interchange - Connecting east of Manchester with Sheffield, the M60’s three lanes reach a roundabout that connects the A54 with the M67 flowing east. Expect heavy traffic from the motorway and from the A57 moving from the left.
Junction 12 - The Worsley Interchange is one of the busiest roads, meeting the M62, in between the Manchester outer ring road and the city centre. There are two junctions very close to each other, which means slow moving traffic, especially during peak hours.
Junction 18 - This is Simister Island, where the M66 finishes and the M60 splits into the M62. The large six lane roundabout has a lot of traffic lights which causes the build-up of traffic.
Junction 26 - The Lower Bredbury Interchange runs parallel with the A560 allowing the movement to flow westbound to westbound. Expect delays at the traffic lights on both the M60 and A560.
Accident Hotspots on the M60
The M60 is essentially the only way to travel from the south into and out of Manchester, so you can expect a lot of road users on the M60 will be traveling at all times throughout the day. The four-laned motorway is fast flowing, with typically some delays near all major junctions, so do check for any M60 traffic updates before you travel. Some of these have been known to be accident blackspots. For example, the junctions near Stockport have been flagged as problematic.
You can expect traffic delays by junction 5 near Dane Bank due to the influx of road users, particularly in the morning. Junction 10 is particularly problematic due to the ongoing traffic to the Trafford Centre and Old Trafford. The M60 interchange into the M602 near Winton via junction 11 is also known as an accident blackspot. This may be because of the spaghetti style layout not leaving drivers enough time to choose a route.
Upcoming M60 Major Roadworks
As the M60 is one of the busiest routes out of Manchester, the need to improve the outer ring road is essential for the upkeep of the road, the safety of drivers and to reduce congestion. Do use the RAC Route Planner to note any M60 traffic news, roadworks or reported delays before your journey.
Upcoming major roadworks on the M60 include:
Between junction 8 and junction 20 - Starting in 2014, this is an ongoing project to install more than 300 electronic signs on overhead gantries on the M60 and M62 between junction 8 and junction 20. This Smart Motorways scheme is set to end in the summer of 2018.
There are no other planned roadworks reported for the M60 at the time of writing. Please do check the Highways England for up to date M60 roadwork proposals.