M61 motorway

The M61 is a motorway in North West England. It runs from the M60 motorway northwest of Manchester and heads northwest past Bolton and Chorley to join the M6 just north of the junction between the M6 and M65 motorways to the south of Preston.

M61 shield

Route information
Length22.3694 mi (36.0001 km)
HistoryConstructed 1969–1970
Major junctions
South endWorsley
 Junction 1.svg UK-Motorway-M60.svg
J1 → M60 motorway
Junction 9.svg UK-Motorway-M65.svg
J9 → M65 motorway
M6 motorway
North endPreston
Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, Chorley, Preston, Southport
Road network

Worsley Braided InterchangeEdit

Perhaps the most distinguishing section of the M61 is to be found at the southern end at the Worsley Braided Interchange between junctions 1 and 3. This stretch of the road on the approach to the terminus with the M60 ring road is a collection of sliproads and overpass tunnels providing free-flowing access to and from the following:

The M61 at night looking towards Chorley

This complicated junction earns a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most traffic lanes side by side (17), spread across several parallel carriageways at Linnyshaw.[1][2][3][4]

On its opening on 17 December 1970, it was already known locally as "Spaghetti Junction",[5][6] 17 months before the opening of Gravelly Hill Interchange in Birmingham, nowadays most associated with that name in Britain.


The M61 has one service station: Rivington services (formerly Bolton West services), located between Junctions 6 and 8 (as Junction 7 was never built). This motorway service area was used in the filming of The Services, a pilot episode for the Farnworth-born comedian Peter Kay series That Peter Kay Thing, a spoof documentary of a day in the life of the services staff.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance information.[7]

M61 motorway
mile km Northbound exits Junction Southbound exits
The LAKES, Preston, Lancashire, Lancaster, Blackpool (M55), M6 M6 J30 Start of motorway
20.6 33.2 Blackburn, Burnley, Preston (South) M65 J9 Blackburn, Burnley M65
16.7 27.0 Chorley, Leyland, Southport A674 (A6) J8 Chorley A674


Rivington services Services Rivington services
9.6 15.4 Horwich
Chorley A6027 (A6)
J6 Bolton (North),
Horwich A6027
7.0 11.2 Wigan, Bolton, Westhoughton A58 J5 Bolton, Westhoughton A58
5.1 8.2 Atherton, Leigh A6 J4 Walkden A6
2.8 4.5 Bolton (A666) J3 A6053 Farnworth A666 Kearsley
Start of motorway J2 Salford, Manchester City Centre (A580)
Bolton (A666) (not part of motorway) J1 Oldham, Rochdale M60 (East)
Leeds (M62)
Salford, Sale M60 (South)
Manchester Airport (M56)

(not part of motorway)

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata


  1. ^ British Roads Database www.cbrd.co.uk URL accessed 18 February 2008
  2. ^ "The number's up for Britain's roads". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group Limited. October 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2008. The west side of Manchester is notoriously busy and holds the record for the widest section of motorway – an impressive 17 lanes where the M61 and M60 meet.
  3. ^ Matthews, Peter (ed) (1992). The Guinness Book of Records 1993. Enfield: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 121. ISBN 0-85112-978-1.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ The Google Maps location of this incidence is [1]
  5. ^ Chartres, John (18 December 1970). "'Spaghetti Junction' opens, without warning signs". The Times. London. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  6. ^ Johnson, W.M. (2000), "A627(M) Rochdale–Oldham Motorway" Archived 29 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Lancashire County Council website accessed 28 June 2011
  7. ^ Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (map) – Highway Authority, 2009