A57(M) (Mancunian Way, Manchester)

By Charles Walkden

The A57(M). more popularly known as Mancunian Way, is an extremely useful road that allows easy and speedy east-west travel across Manchester city centre. There is a 50mph speed limit on the A57(M), 40mph on the A57. For the most part it is built as a fly-over, providing a good opportunity to see the southern half of the city centre.

The eastern end of the A57 starts at the junction of Great Ancoats Street (part of the city centre ring road) with Ashton Old Road and Fairfield Street. However, it is only after the slip-road down to Downing Street (and routes to Stockport and Hyde) that the A57 becomes the A57(M) - the real Mancunian Way.

Travelling west from the start of Mancunian Way the first obvious attraction is the main UMIST campus to the right: note the UMIST crest on top of the 15 storey (and needs painting!) MSS (Mathematics and Social Science) building. A slip road up from London Road/Downing Street then joins, followed quickly by a slip-road from Brook Street. We then travel over an award-winning bridge (1968 Concrete Society award - a commemorative plaque is situated on the southern side of the bridge and is easily accessible to pedestrians walking up Brook Street towards the UMIST campus) before being confronted with another slip road - again from Brook Street - as well our first opportunity to leave Mancunian Way. This is the most natural place to exit for access to Manchester University. It also allows access (after a short journey underneath Mancunian Way itself) to the A5103, affectionately although incorrectly referred to as the Princess Parkway (actually Princess Road) - one of the main southern routes out of Manchester, leading to the M53 and M6 (South). Continuing along Mancunian Way it is but a short journey to its westernmost conclusion - the junction with Chester Road - allowing an easy continuation of one's journey to Regent Road (A57) and the M602, heading west through Eccles towards the M62 and M60.

Charles Walkden adds:

If you drive west-to-east, you'll find a slip-road (the exit for the city centre loop, and the second exit for the A61 and A58) that leaves the motorway on the right hand side, rather than the more traditional left. This is the only slip road I know of that is on the ``wrong'' side - is it unique?

Chris Marshall answers:

It's definitely not unique - there's one eastbound on the A64 (M) Leeds Inner Ring Road. (Here in Leeds, we never like to be outdone by them across the Pennines).

Tim Lidbetter points out:

I can find no trace of a right hand lane slip road on the A57(M) in Manchester. It would be quite some slip road: the A57 meets the A58 only in Liverpool, and the A61 only in Sheffield. Was Charles actually talking about the A64(M)?

Steven Jukes confirms:

There is no right hand slip road on the A57(M). There's the famous slip road to nowhere that ends up twenty feet up in the air, and if completed would go the wrong way up a one-way street, but definitely no right hand exit. And interestingly (perhaps!), there's also a five-a-side football pitch under the motorway (owned by UMIST).

Sam Holloway writes:

The A167(M) Central Motorway through Newcastle has at least two right-handed ``off'' slip roads (the junction with the A1058 is one, and the other is the B1318 I think, as well as several right-hand ``on'' slip roads), so they're not quite so unique as people might have thought!

Aidan Westwood adds:

There is also a right-hand slip-road at J25 on the anticlockwise M60 and, perhaps even more dangerously, this time it is for entry to carriageway. To be fair, the traffic entering the motorway there does ``get its own lane'' so it isn't forced to merge, but since this slip-road becomes the outside lane of the M60 it's still a bit dodgy when slow vehicles are joining the fray.

Toby Speight adds:

The M8 in Glasgow has several right-hand entries and exits:

Sensibly, there's a 50 limit through this lot! It also has one or two right-hand stubs with bridges - provision for slip roads that will probably never be built. And it has some dead-end elevated slip roads, just north of Kingston Bridge. (Hmm, ``dead-end'', a good choice of words!)

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