|Length:||20.0 mi (32.2 km)|
|Existed:||1969 – present|
J1 → M60 motorway
J9 → M65 motorway
|Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, Chorley, Preston, Southport|
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.
Worsley Braided Interchange
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 A580 (East Lancashire Road)
- the motorway spur road to and from the A666
- both the clockwise and the anti-clockwise carriageways of the M60 (originally M62)
- both the northbound and the southbound carriageways of the M61.
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. The Google Maps location of this incidence is 
On its opening on 17 December 1970, it was already known locally as "Spaghetti Junction", 17 months before the opening of Gravelly Hill Interchange in Birmingham, nowadays most associated with that name in Britain.
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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.
|mile||km||Northbound exits||Junction||Southbound exits|
|The North, Preston, Lancaster, Blackpool (M55), M6||M6, J30||Start of motorway|
|20.6||33.2||Blackburn, Burnley, Preston (South) M65||J9||Blackburn, Burnley M65|
|17.1||27.6||Chorley, Leyland, Southport A674 (A6)||J8||Chorley A674 (A6)|
|Rivington services||Services||Rivington services|
Chorley A6027 (A6)
|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||No access||J3||Bolton (A666)|
|Bolton (A666)||J2||Salford, Manchester (Central) (A580)|
|0.6||0.9||Start of motorway||J1||Oldham, Rochdale M60 (East)
Salford, Sale M60 (South)
Manchester Airport (M56)
Route map: Google
- CBRD Motorway Database – M61
- Lancashire County Council – Historic Highways – M61
- The Motorway Archive – M61
- British Roads Database www.cbrd.co.uk URL accessed 18 February 2008
- "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.
- Matthews, Peter (ed) (1992). The Guinness Book of Records 1993. Enfield: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 121. ISBN 0-85112-978-1.
- Chartres, John (18 December 1970). "'Spaghetti Junction' opens, without warning signs". The Times. London. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- 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
- Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (map) – Highway Authority, 2009
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