At one point, the M62 is the highest motorway in England. It reaches 372m above sea level at Junction 22 on Saddleworth Moor as it passes over the Pennines.
You are probably not likely to notice the Rakewood Viaduct. This is because its not something you’ll see, it is something you drive over.
It carries the motorway over Rakewood Valley and Longden End Brook between junctions 21 and 22 at Littleborough in Greater Manchester.
The viaduct is 840 feet long and 140 feet above the valley floor. It was built in 1966 by Reed and Mallik Ltd and opened to motorway traffic in October 1971. It has a sister bridge, The Gathurst Viaduct which carries the M6 Motorway over the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, Manchester to Southport Railway and River Douglas and was constructed prior to the Rakewood Viaduct.
The steelwork deck was subcontracted to Robert Watson Steelwork Ltd of High Street Bolton. William Openshaw of Bolton was the foreman in charge of the steelwork. Eric Baldwin and Mark Baldwin both of Wigan were steel erectors during construction.
Due to the height of the bridge and the surrounding hillside exposure it is often subject to high speed cross winds.
This devastating incident took place in 2001 when a sleep-deprived driver swerved off the M62 at just before a bridge over the East Cost Main Line in Great Heck, near Selby. His Land Rover finished on the track and he was unable to move the car. A passenger train hit his car and was derailed. This caused it to be deflected into the path of a freight train.
This dreadful accident caused the deaths of several people and many more to be seriously injured.
More details of the incident can be found here.
The pedestrian bridge carrying the Pennine Way is one of the most impressive sights on the M62. It is curved downwards with 85-foot (26 m) long cantilevers.
The Pennine Way, which was officially opened in 1965, is intersected by one of Britain’s busiest motorways, close to Rishworth Moor.
During the design stages for the building of the M62 the Pennine Way had not yet being granted Public Right of Way status and therefore no plans had been considered to erect a footbridge, to allow safe passage across the future trans-Pennine motorway. The original intention was that Pennine Wayfarers would have to follow the A672 underneath the motorway and re-join the footpath further north. However it is said that Ernest Marples, a former Manchester Rambling Club member, and owner of Marples/Ridgeway Civil Engineering Contractors, played an instrumental part in ensuring that the pedestrian bridge was built.
Apparently the original design for the bridge was to span the motorway horizontally. However, some sources say that the Transport Minister, who was in office at the time, was a prolific walker and insisted that a more impressive structure be built. This decision is said to have considerably increased the construction costs. Whatever the original design, the final structure consists of a reinforced concrete three pin arch which has a span of 220ft, complete with side cantilevers. Each cantilever supports pre-stressed concrete approach spans each of which are 85ft long.
Since its original construction this now iconic landmark has provided safe passage, above the swarming traffic, for thousands upon thousands of walkers making their 270 mile pilgrimage along Britain’s best known National Trail.
This information is taken from here: http://saddleworthdiscoverywalks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-m62-pennine-way-footbridge.html
There’s a brilliant photo and an interesting tale of how the footbridge came to exist can be found here.
As you pass Oldham you should see a monument on the hill in the distance. This is the Royton War Memorial which is at the top of Tandle Hill. It is 8.5m tall.
The memorial is one of the landmarks of the town of Royton and was erected “in memory of the men of Royton who gave their lives for the freedom and honour of their country” during the First World War. It was commissioned by the Royton War Memorial Committee and unveiled on 22 October 1921 by Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby. There are no longer any names on the monument (the plaques were stolen in 1969) as these are now on a new memorial in the town.
The monument stands at the top of the Tandle Hill Country Park. This consists of approximately 110 acres and is a combination of woodland and open grassland. In fine weather conditions, it offers views of Manchester and the Welsh mountains.
Over the last week you may have seen two of the most prominent M62 landmarks in a different way – Emley Moor and the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill were lit up to celebrate the 2014 Tour de France’s journey through Yorkshire.
Windy Hill is in the South Pennines, located west of the A672 road and south west of Junction 22 on the M62 motorway. It includes transmitting equipment for phones, TV and radio.
Read more about Windy Hill here.
Some amazing photos can be found here:
Could the Birch Services be the unluckiest service stations in the country?
On 9th October 2003 the westbound service station at Birch was completely destroyed by a deliberately started fire. Millions of pounds worth of damage was caused.
After losing large sums of cash in a fruit machine, Jason New started kicking it to get his money back. He then went to the shop and bought a lighter, promptly setting fire to the machine. By 1am, the whole westbound side of the services were alight and evacuated. It took 70 fire-fighters four hours to bring the blaze under control.The fire started at about 0130 BST on Thursday and more than 70 firefighters were tackling the blaze at its height.
On 4th October 2011 the eastbound services caught fire causing substantial damage. This fire was believed to be caused by an electrical fault.
Blackstone Edge is a gritstone escarpment in the Pennine Hills. It is 472 metres above sea level and is surrounded by moorland on the boundary between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.
From the summit it is possible to see the M62, Manchester city centre, Winter Hill and the North Wales mountains.
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The Winter Hill Transmitting Station is a broadcasting and telecommunications site on Winter Hill. It is situated at the southern boundary of Chorley and above Bolton. It can easily be seen from the motorway.
It is one of the tallest structures in the UK. The mast is 310 metres tall with a diameter of 2.75 metres. It is 778.1 metres above sea level and is therefore the highest television transmitting antenna in the country.