M65 now part of history

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The M65, with all its failings, is a matter of everyday life in Burnley, writes local historian ROGER FROST.

But did you realise that the Burnley section of the motorway was opened as long ago as October, 1981? Almost 35 years have passed since then. I could have fallen off my chair! It does not seen all that long ago that we were all suffering the inconvenience of the construction of the highway. Since then we have had to put up with its maintenance.

Failings? There are plenty of them. These is no evidence that the M65 has brought the prosperity it promised to North-East Lancashire. The authorities turn its “street lights” off on a daily basis. The motorway has never been completed into Yorkshire, the original intention, and the bits that have been built are confusing, two and three lanes, when it is obvious, now, that all of it should have been a three-lane motorway.

The building of the motorway in Colne, where the M65 comes to a sudden halt, has been little short of disastrous. Once the unsuspecting motorist has put the M65 behind him, he has to negotiate either the main road through the town (Albert Road) or travel by the North Valley Road. Traffic jams and delays are inevitable, and no one is doing anything about it.

Anyhow, I have decided that, this week, we should have a look at some images of the building of the M65 in the Burnley area. I will give you some clues but I will leave it to you to work out what the images actually depict. The answers will be in next week’s Retro. Unfortunately, the Burnley Express does not run to prizes but, if you get them right you will have the satisfaction that you are a local historian of no mean ability.

The photographs published today can all be found in the Fred Woodhead Collection which is held by the Briercliffe Society. I am afraid that I do not know a great deal about Fred but I know that he lived, for a time, on one of the streets off Accrington Road. That might explain (this is a clue) why so many of his images are taken in the Gannow area.

That said, the collection contains images of the building of the M65 along the length of the motorway from Hapton to Nelson. The images (not a clue) are particularly good of motorway construction in Brierfield.

One of the four images I have chosen is of a bridge, which, remarkably, was built from the top down! Another is of what must have been a very expensive foot bridge, but where is it? A third shows the early stages of the construction of the Gannow Roundabout, but which is the image? The fourth image is of the Crow Wood section of the motorway, but which one?

Can you identify each of the images? The images have been chosen because they contain clues which may help you. I hope that they reproduce well so that you can see them. See you, next week.

The images are taken in 1979 and 1980 when construction work was still being undertaken. I will give you the dates of all four images next week.