17 rare and fascinating pictures show the construction of the M6 in Lancaster over 60 years ago

The stretch of M6 which takes traffic through Lancaster officially opened almost 65 years ago.

When the nation’s first stretch of motorway was opened in Preston in December 1958 it was the start of a project which now covers more than 2,100 miles around the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan cut the ribbon on the eight miles of the Preston Bypass, saying it was a symbol of what was to follow.

The next project of what we now know as the M6 followed quickly with the creation of the Lancaster Bypass between modern day junctions 33 and 35.

The Lancaster stretch of M6 was later officially opened by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Dr Charles Hill MP. on April 11 1960.

By 1965 the motorway stretched from Stafford to Lancaster but the next stage of the scheme was to prove the most challenging so far as the road builders headed north.

And in January 1966 it was announced work would start to finally link Lancaster to the Lake District by motorway.

It was envisaged the new road would cut delays of an hour often experienced by motorists using the A6.

The motorway stretched 34 miles and cost £30m, linking Carnforth with Thrimby, six miles south of Penrith.

The area was arguably the most difficult to build because of its rocky surface and at various times tunnels and high viaducts were considered to tackle the various options for carving through the mountainous terrain.

When the ribbon was cut on the new road it marked the culmination of 11 years of planning, design and construction.

Our photos, including some taken from glass plate negatives, show work from the construction of the Lancaster stretch of the M6 and beyond.