At Junction 11 of the M62 you’ll see a tall sculpture next to the motorway. This is called ‘Encounter’ and is a symbol of the New Town plan.
The New Town Development Corporation planned to restructure the whole of Warrington. Part of this plan was a proposal to construct a network of “motorways” through the town. They were actually all-purpose A-roads, but were planned to be dual carriageway and grade-separated so would function much like urban motorways. It would have looked very much like Runcorn, another nearby New Town with its own expressway network.
Warrington’s roads never got built. The sections planned to carve through existing development were never even started and the New Town districts frequently only have open space for the roads to be provided in the future. The only one that can really be said to exist is Birchwood Way, the A574.
The sculpture aims to give the New Town development a public identity.
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Scammonden Reservoir lies between junctions 22 and 23 of the motorway. It is the only structure of its type in Britain where the motorway forms the dam.
Permission for the construction was granted in 1965 where the Deanhead Valley was flooded to form the reservoir. The village of Scammonden was flooded, and many buildings were demolished.
Surveying began in November 1961 and the route of the carriageway was determined in mid 1963. Excavation in the Deanhead Valley commenced the following year and for the dam in 1966. This required the removal of 713,000 cubic metres of peat bog to reach the solid rock base nearly 13 metres below ground level. Material excavated elsewhere on the line of the motorway, clay from cuttings between Lofthouse and Gilderstone, and 3.4 million cubic metres from the Deanhead excavations was used to build the dam’s embankment which is 625 metres in length and 63.1 metres above the original valley floor. The 3.6 million cubic metre embankment is 435 metres wide at its base and 55 metres at road level.
Scammonden Water is 51.8 metres at its deepest point and water is drawn-off through a 2.5 kilometre tunnel driven southwards to supply Huddersfield. The overflow bellmouth, next to the valve shaft superstructure, discharges water to the valley below via a tunnel in the valley on the reservoir’s eastern side. The reservoir started to fill in July 1969 and the area was landscaped and parking and other facilities were provided.
The motorway, which was dependent on the completion of the dam, was opened to traffic on 20 December 1970 and officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II who unveiled a plaque near the valve tower of Scammonden Water on 14 October 1971.
The picture shows the motorway and the reservoir under construction in August 1970.
The M62 coach bombing happened on 4th February 1974. An IRA bomb exploded in a coach carrying off-duty Armed Forces personnel and their family members. Twelve people (nine soldiers, three civilians) were killed by the bomb.
The coach had been specially commissioned to carry personnel on leave with their families from and to the bases at Catterick and Darlington during a period of industrial strike action on the trains. The vehicle had departed Manchester some time before, and was making good progress on the M62 mototway. Shortly after midnight, near the Hartshead Moor Motorway Services, there was a large explosion. The blast could be heard several miles away. The coach was reduced to a tangle of twisted metal. It was a horrific scene.
To read more, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M62_coach_bombing and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/7869077.stm
The memorial to those who were killed can be found at the Hartshead Moor Services (westbound).
This new memorial was unveiled at a special service in February 2009.
Ikea and the Gemini Retail Park in Warrington attract a lot of traffic to the M62. I guess that Ikea is particularly noteworthy as the Warrington store was the first of the furniture giant’s stores in the UK. It opened on 1st October 1987.
An aerial view of Ikea at Junction 8 of the M62. You can see how close the store is to the motorway.
Staff at the opening of the Warrington store in 1987.
As you pass St. Helens you might notice an something unusual rising from the trees – a 66 ft tall white human head. It’s one of the most impressive pieces of public art in the country.
Dream is a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, sited on an old spoil top of Sutton Manor Colliery in Sutton, St. Helens, Merseyside, which closed in 1991. It cost approximately £1.8m. It consists of an elongated white structure, cast to resemble the head and neck of a young woman with her eyes closed in meditation. It is 66 ft tall and weighs 500 tons. It is coated in sparkling white Spanish dolomite as a contrast to the coal which used to be mined there.
It is located in a lovely piece of parkland.
The 18th-century Stott Hall Farm on Windy Hill, above Booth Wood Reservoir is situated between the carriageways between junctions 22 and 23. The road divides around the farm for engineering reasons because of surrounding geology, though a local myth persists that the road was split because the owners refused to sell the land.
The farm has been nicknamed the Little House on the Prairie by lorry drivers using CB radio and by BBC Radio 2 traffic reporters. The farm is separated from the motorway by crash barriers and a high fence to keep livestock in and drivers out, after stranded motorists attempted to get aid when broken down. The farm was occupied by Ken and Beth Wild at the time of the motorway’s opening. It is one of the ten best-known sights on the motorway network and in West Yorkshire.
The farm was used as a location for an episode of the ITV drama series Where the Heart Is and was the subject of a BBC Radio 4 documentary and a short documentary film which can be found here: http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-the-farm-on-the-motorway-1983/.
In December 2016 The Lad Bible talked about the reason why the farm is still there.
In the distance, not a million miles away from Emley Moor, you can see Jubilee Tower on Castle Hill, Huddersfield.
By 1897 Queen Victoria had reigned over the British Empire for sixty years, longer than any other monarch. A permanent memorial of this event was planned in the form of a tower perched on the hill overlooking the town of Huddersfield. Despite some difficulty raising the money required, the tower was opened by the Earl of Scarborough on 24 June 1899. Although often referred to as the Jubilee Tower, the correct name is the Victoria Tower. Designed by Isaac Jones of London, it was built by the firm of Ben Graham and Sons of Folly Hall, using stone from Crosland Hill. It cost £3,298, and was 106 feet (32.3 m) high, which, added to the height of the hill itself, made the top 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level.
Castle Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument situated on a hilltop overlooking Huddersfield, in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees. It has been settled for at least 4,000 years. Experts regard it as one of Yorkshire’s most important early Iron Age hill forts. The summit of Castle Hill is by far the most conspicuous landmark in Huddersfield. The Hill has been a place of recreation for hundreds of years and the easily discernible remains of past occupation have made it a subject for legend, speculation and scientific study.
Some great pictures of the tower can be found here: