M65. Burnley to Colne (J10 to J14)

The preliminary design began in November 1971 and, in due course, it was agreed that the proposed line of the route should be protected against development. The Scheme was given Potential Principal Road Status, which meant that it would qualify for a grant of 75% of the cost from Central Government.

The statutory procedures, which included the submission of a Planning Application, commenced in January 1973. The standard adopted in the design was for dual three-lane carriageways, which were considered to be necessary for the whole of the route. However, following the publication of the proposals in May of that year, advice was received from the Department of Transport that, as the capacity figures for design had been revised, it was considered that dual two-lane carriageways would suffice.

It was suggested, to the Department, that the Scheme should proceed as intended, but that only two-lane carriageways should be constructed in the first instance. In the light of the experience gained on the Preston By-pass Section of the M6, it was considered that the bridges should be designed to allow for future widening. The suggestion was totally rejected by the Department and in the circumstances, particularly in regard to the issue of grant, the County Council had no alternative but to accept the ruling. In consequence, it was necessary to recommence the statutory procedures for a Scheme designed to the lower standard.

In February/March 1974 a Joint Public Inquiry was held to consider objections submitted in respect of both the County Council's proposals for the Burnley to Colne section and those of the Department for the Hyndburn to Burnley section. Unfortunately, it was not until late 1975 that the Secretary of State gave a favourable decision. Meanwhile, following Local Government Reorganisation in April 1974, the County Council had become the sole local highway authority.

For many years it had been the policy of the County Council to purchase property affected by an approved highway scheme, when requested by the owner. Burnley Borough Council had decided to adopt the same policy and, therefore, a great deal of property had been purchased before the County Council proceeded to make a Compulsory Purchase Order.

With the completion of the statutory procedures, the County Council was able to start on the construction of the motorway between Burnley and Colne by the award of the first contract in August 1976. It is significant that work did not commence on the Department's Hyndburn to Burnley section until some five years later.

Primarily due to uncertainty as to the availability of finance, particularly grant from Central Government, which was only issued on a year to year basis, the County Council decided that the project should be undertaken in three main sections.

Burnley to Colne (J10 to J14)The 3½ mile Burnley to Brierfield section was constructed under five contracts. Clifton AqueductThree advance works contracts were undertaken with the principal objective of:

1.providing direct access to the line of the motorway from the A56 at Brierfield thereby minimising the use of existing roads in the area by construction traffic, and
2.constructing key bridges, in particular, the Clifton Aqueduct required to carry the Leeds and Liverpool Canal over the motorway

Work on the first main contract, which began in March 1978, included the completion of the Brierfield junction, and major bridgeworks of which the most significant is the four span Montford Viaduct. Along the valley, and close to the river known as Pendle Water, the motorway was to be constructed mainly on embankment. The underlying weak material was known locally as 'bible clay', being laminated clay separated by silt and resembling the leaves of a book. The embankments were, therefore, constructed under controlled conditions using light weight material such as pulverised fuel ash.
Montford Viaduct.

Burnley to Colne (J10 to J14)2The construction of two interchanges was included in the second main contract. The full-movement Burnley Barracks interchange was to be constructed in an area formerly occupied by old terraced property. It included a diversion of Padiham Road, a roundabout on each side of the motorway and a system of pedestrian subways. Apart from major services which needed to be diverted, a unique feature was the 1200 feet long Gannow Tunnel carrying the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and passing under the area. This was the subject of inspection and close monitoring by British Waterways engineers who were concerned at the possibility of damage being caused.

In the 50 feet deep cutting required for the motorway, old shallow mine workings were encountered.

Half a mile to the north, Crow Wood junction was to be constructed immediately north of a bridge carrying the motorway over the River Calder. With only slip roads leading to and from the Colne direction, it provides a direct link into Burnley Town Centre.

For a comparatively short length of motorway the bridgeworks were extensive, with ten underbridges and six overbridges.

The Burnley to Brierfield section of motorway was completed and opened to traffic in October 1981, providing considerable relief to Burnley and parts of Brierfield. These urban areas had suffered from congestion and a serious traffic accident record for many years.

In the light of the experience gained earlier, an advance earthworks contract began in November 1981 on the Brierfield to Nelson section of the motorway. With similar ground conditions, the lower layers of embankment were constructed with carefully controlled rates of filling.

A start on the main contract for the 1¼ miles continuation of the motorway through to Reedyford, Nelson, was made in August 1982.

Special ground treatment involved the installation of a series of 6 feet diameter rock-filled piles, 50 feet deep.

The construction of two bridges completed the Brierfield interchange and the access to a major industrial estate development at Lomeshaye. A three span bridge over a side road and two pedestrian underpasses were also constructed.

Major accommodation works included replacement bowling greens, and the pavilion of Nelson Cricket Club, where the slope of the adjoining motorway embankment provided new terracing.

The work was completed and this section of motorway was opened to traffic in December 1983. The temporary slip road connection to the A682, Scotland Road, at Reedyford, had the effect of enabling traffic to by-pass Nelson Town Centre.

The programming of the construction of the 1½ mile long Nelson to Colne section was influenced by two major factors. Firstly, the availability of finance and secondly, the timing of the provision of replacement facilities for Reedyford Hospital which was on the line of the motorway, and due for demolition.

It was necessary to divert Reedyford Road, as part of the works involved in the construction of the major Reedyford interchange. This could be achieved without any direct effect on the Hospital; although passing through its grounds. The road diversion was the subject of the first of two advance works contracts beginning in March 1985.

The second contract, starting in April 1986, involved the construction of two bridges at the Barrowford Locks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Both the motorway, and the diverted Barrowford to Colne road, were to be carried over the Locks.

Due to delays in obtaining possession of the Reedyford Hospital site, the first main contract which began in November 1986, was only in respect of the works between Barrowford Locks and the terminal roundabout at Greenfield, on the outskirts of Colne. From this junction, an all-purpose dual carriageway link road known as the Whitewalls Diversion provided a connection to the Burnley and Colne road, A56. The roundabout was designed to allow for the construction of a further link road connecting with North Valley Road to enable A56 traffic, to and from Skipton, to by-pass Colne Town Centre.

The final contract beginning in May 1987 involved the construction of the Reedyford interchange, and the motorway through to Barrowford Locks, which required a three-span bridge over Colne Water. The ground conditions were similar to those experienced in the other contracts carried out along this part of the Calder Valley. The special measures which had been adopted to deal with the problem, were repeated.

Burnley to Colne (J10 to J14)3Within the interchange, pedestrian movement is segregated from the vehicular traffic routes by a network of footways passing through open aspect subways or via a spiral ramped footbridge

By the time this last section of the 6 mile long motorway between Burnley and Colne had been completed and opened to traffic in September 1988, it had taken over 12 years from the start of the first contract. Eleven separate construction contracts were undertaken, with a number of different contractors successful in competing for the work. This required very careful programming by the County Council and its staff, in order to ensure that there would be no overlap in terms of access and the possession of the various parts of the site. In the event, there were no serious difficulties and the effect was the construction of an important section of the M65, at an economic cost. Whereas the main source of finance was grant from Central Government, the County Council was also successful in obtaining assistance from the Regional Development Fund of the European Economic Community and a loan from the European Investment Bank.

In contrast, the programming of the Trunk Road sections of the M65 between M6/M61 and Burnley was not influenced by financial considerations, which meant that the construction could be carried out under major contracts.

The County Council always held the view that the Calder Valley Route should be continued eastwards from Colne and, to that end, protected a route against development through to the County Boundary on A6068. However, due to its wider national and inter-regional significance, the County Council considered that the proposal should be adopted as a Trunk Road scheme.

Motorways map
Enhancement of motorway network
Motorway Listing
M65. Calder Valley Motorway
M65 Whitebirk to Burnley (J6 to J10)
M65. Burnley to Colne (J10 to J14)
Archive information
M65. A682(M6) to Whitebirk (J1A to J6)
Archive Information


Archive Information

Burnley to Colne Section


The full archive for this scheme is stored at the Lancashire CC Record Office.  Click to see details of this record office, then delete the popup page to return.  There is not yet an Accession Number for this data. 




‘North East Lancashire Project Study - Final Report‘
Investigations into road proposals for NE Lanes. incl. a 'fast route' (M65)
(42 pages incl. maps, diagrams and photos.)
September 1969 Lancashire County Council
2 1/10560 Plan showing alternative routes under consideration

May 1972

J Drake
County Surveyor & Bridgemaster
3 'Principal Road Programme Report'
(75 pages incl. maps and diagrams)
October 1972 J Drake
County Surveyor & Bridgemaster
4 ‘'Preparation and Design'’
(31 pages)
March 2000 J B Firth
County Surveyor’s Dept.
5 ‘Public Inquiry: Proof of Evidence’
( pages)
February 1974 A Cockshaw
County Surveyor's Department
6 ‘Public Inquiry: Proof of Evidence’
(53 pages)
February 1974 D Tattersall
Assistant County Planning Officer
7 ‘Public Inquiry: Proof of Evidence’
(6 pages)

February 1974

D W Chaplin
General Manager Burnley Colne & Nelson Joint Transport
8 ‘Public Inquiry: Proof of Evidence’
(18 pages)

February 1974

A Howard
Transport 2000 NW
9 'Regional Development Fund of the EEC'
Application for assistance towards the cost of the Burnley-Colne Section
(8 pages)

June 1975

Lancashire County Council
10 'European Investment Bank'
Technical Aspects, including economic assessment
(4 pages)


E Waterhouse
County Surveyor's Dept.
11 'The Construction'
Personal recollections
(15 pages)


I R Shepherd
Resident Engineer
12 'Opening Brochure’
Burnley - Brierfield Section
(6 pages incl. map)

14 October 1981

Lancashire County Council
13 'Opening Brochure’
Brierfield - Nelson Section
(6 pages incl. map)

9 December 1983

Lancashire County Council
14 'Opening Brochure’
Nelson - Colne Section
(6 pages incl. map)

15 September 1988

Lancashire County Council
15 'North East Lancashire Initiative'
Benefits of locating in NE Lancashire with particular reference to the significance of M65
(7 pages incl. maps, diagrams and photos.)


Lancashire County Council
1 Burnley to Colne Special Road scheme 1973 County Library
2 Burnley to Colne Special Road scheme
1975 County Library
3 Burnley to Colne Special Road scheme
Side Roads Order 1973
1973 County Library
4 Burnley to Colne Special Road scheme
Public Local Inquiries 1975
1975 County Library
5 Notes on the M65 1971-80 County Library
6 Archaelogical & Historical Survey No 1
Survey No 1
1977 County Library
7 'The motorway in Pendle'
by Harold Holgate
? County Library