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The M65 is a motorway in Lancashiremarker, Englandmarker. It runs from just south of Prestonmarker through the major junction of the M6 and M61 motorways, east past Blackburnmarker, Accringtonmarker and Burnleymarker, to end at Colnemarker.


The M65 was opened in the following sections:

  • Junctions 1a to 6 in 1997
  • Junctions 6 to 7 in 1984
  • Junctions 7 to 10 in 1983
  • Junctions 10 to 12 in 1981
  • Junctions 12 to 13 in 1983
  • Junctions 13 to 14 in 1988

The first section of the motorway was opened in 1981, connecting Burnleymarker to Brierfieldmarker. Over the years, several extensions were made, the largest being the link from Whitebirkmarker to the M6 and M61 motorways in 1997. This particular extension was the scene of a stand-off between construction security workers and protestors (often known as 'eco-warriors').

Junctions 1a to 6 were opened 18 December 1997 by Jack Straw, Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Blackburn. The opening ceremony took place on the westbound carriageway beneath junction 5 at Guide with a heavy police presence as protesters threatened to bring a halt to the proceedings.

A large section of the 1997 extension was relaid a short while after opening. The amount of road noise was so great that it prevented birds of prey (mainly owls) from foraging effectively. A new, quieter tarmac was then laid.

Originally, the M65 was planned to go via the town centre of Blackburnmarker, but local council opposition effectively killed this plan off. It was cancelled by the Thatcher government in 1980, and not re-entered into the roads programme until the 1990s. There were six planned routes, four of which avoided the town centre completely. In the end the only route to go around the south of the town was selected.


Unusual spur road

When the M65 was extended, a slip road was built at Walton Summit, to the south-east of Prestonmarker, leading from the roundabout linking Junction 9 of the M61 with Junction 2 of the M65 to the Walton Summit industrial estate. It is a single carriageway road, with two lanes towards the junction (uphill), and one away (downhill). It is around 500 m long and replaced an A-road spur of the A6 that was built in the 1980s.

According to the statutory instrument which authorised its construction, the road is officially classified as a 'special link road to connect the [M65/M61 roundabout] with the all-purpose road known as Tramway Lane'. However, according to Lancashire County Council, it is the 'M61 Link Tramway Lane to Junction 9' and is part of the M61. In 2007, the approach signs from Walton Summit itself were all modified to read 'M61', although the actual roundabout at the eastern end is still marked as 'M65' on signs.

Management of Junctions 10-14

The M65 is one of the few motorways in Englandmarker that is not operated and maintained exclusively by the Highways Agency (the British Government body responsible for the motorways and main trunk roads in England).

The Highways Agency is only responsible for the section from Junction 1a at Faringtonmarker to Junction 10 at Burnleymarker. (32.4 km)

The section from Junction 10, Burnleymarker, to the M65's eastern terminus at Junction 14, Colnemarker, is operated and maintained by Lancashire County Council. (15.9 km)


Between junctions 7 & 8.
Each motorway in Englandmarker requires that a Statutory Instrument be published, detailing the route of the road, before it can be built. The dates given on these Statutory Instruments relate to when the document was published, and not when the road was built. Provided below is an incomplete list of the Statutory Instruments relating to the route of the M65.

  • Statutory Instrument 1991 No. 722: The M65 Motorway (Bamber Bridge to Whitebirk Section, Blackburn Southern Bypass) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1991. S.I. 1991/722
  • Statutory Instrument 1992 No. 2651: The M65 Motorway (Bamber Bridge to Whitebirk Section, Blackburn Southern Bypass) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1991 Variation Scheme 1992. S.I. 1992/2651


Datafrom driver location signs are used to provide distance information.
M65 Motorway
km Eastbound exits Junction Westbound exits
Skiptonmarker, Keighleymarker, Nelsonmarker, Colne A6068 J14
Start of motorway
Nelson, Kendalmarker A682 J13 Nelson A682
Nelson, Brierfieldmarker A682 J12 Brierfield A682
No access J11 Burnley, Nelson (A679, A682) B6434
32.1 Burnley (Central), Padihammarker A671 J10 Burnley (Central), Padiham A671
29.8 Burnley (West) A679 J9 No access
27.8 Burymarker, Manchestermarker A56
Clitheroemarker A6068
J8 Bury, Manchester A56
Clitheroe A6068
23.3 Accrington, Clitheroe A6185 J7 Accrington A6185
19.9 Blackburn (North & East) A678 J6 Blackburn (North & East) A678
16.2 B6232, Shadsworth A6077 J5 B6232, Shadsworth A6077
13.6 Blackburn (South), Boltonmarker, Darwenmarker A666, Blackburn with Darwen services J4
Blackburn (South), Bolton, Darwen A666, Blackburn with Darwen services
7.9 Blackburn (West) A674
Bolton A675
J3 Blackburn (West) A674
3.5 Manchestermarker, The NORTH WEST, Lancastermarker M61 J2 Manchester, The NORTH WEST, Lancaster M61
1.2 The SOUTH, Birminghammarker, The NORTH WEST, Lancaster M6 J1 The SOUTH, Birmingham, The NORTH WEST, Lancaster M6
1.0 Start of motorway J1a
Preston, Bamber Bridgemarker A6

See also


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