IT was Britain’s first motorway with the first stretch having opened in 1958.

But by 1993, the M6 needed upgrading to cope with the increasing amount of traffic on the roads.

A £37.5 million scheme started around junction 31 at Samlesbury which would involve the building of three new bridges over the River Ribble.

One would allow a widening of the existing motorway and the others would carry new north and southbound slip roads in a bid to ease the congestion which had started to plague the junction.

It would take more than 12 months to complete the project which presented contractors with a number of problems. Thousands of tons of sandy soil were excavated around the site for the new road layout and man-made islands had to be built in the Ribble for the new bridge supports.

For months the area was a vast building site but on May 4, 1994, traffic was able to use the new slip roads for the first time. For many drivers it was then a question of learning the new road layout.