EWM VIDEOCLIP FEATURE: DRIVE ALONG THE MANCUNIAN WAY (Uploaded 4 March 2000)
THE MANCUNIAN WAY (A57M) is a section of motorway with flyovers, situated just to the south of Manchester city centre. It's familiar to thousands of motorists who drive along it every day. With some of the hairiest sliproads and best views of the city, driving on the Mancunian Way is often quite an experience.
It was completed in 1968, forming part of an inner ring road scheme which was never completed as planned. It's only now that the inner ring road around the city centre is finally being built, diverting huge amounts of traffic away from city centre roads, particularly Deansgate.
The curved concrete design, with its tapered pillars reminiscent of a 1960's coffee table, was applauded at the time of construction - Next to the bridge at Upper Brook Street you'll find a plaque bearing the words "Concrete Society Award 1968". Those were crazy times, it seems to us now. Also under construction at that time were the disastrous Hulme Crescents, which were finally demolished in the mid 1990's.
Another interesting feature of the Mancunian Way is an eastbound exit sliproad which comes to an abrupt halt at the Brook Street mini-roundabout. After construction of the Mancunian Way had commenced, someone, somewhere appears to have changed their mind about Princess Street/Upper Brook Street, deciding it was to be a south bound one-way street, making the north bound slip road unnecessary. Yes, they certainly knew how to make a mess of things in those days. Today, the cut-off slip road serves as a site for an advertisement hoarding.
In May 1999, environmental protesters climbed the overhead gantry and daubed the signs with paint. They were protesting against the use of cars and caused major traffic jams. In March 2000 the daubed sign still hasn't been replaced.
At either end of the Mancunian Way, new features have been added - at the western end, coming from the A57 Regent Road Salford, a new wider section has recently been opened, crossing over the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell, and under the railway and Metrolink line. In the mid-1990's, the rickety old flyover at the Hulme roundabout (A556 Chester Road) was removed and replaced by a new 'super-roundabout' and underpass.
At the eastern end, at Downing Street (A6 leading to Stockport Road), a new flyover was opened in 1994, built in solid contemporary style with cylindrical pillars. The road continues here, passing under the Manchester to Stockport railway viaduct
There are great views over the south city centre from the Mancunian Way, but it's probably better to keep your eyes on the road if you're behind the wheel! Happy driving.