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Mrs Conroy, flanked by her two young children clad in smart white contamination suits, demanded before and after blood tests as she expressed 'concern' at the large new hillside being formed close to her house. This image is the most vivid memory of Ian Bailey, Mouchel resident engineer on the earliest M60 contract begun seven years ago - the £19M widening of a 2.3km section of existing M66 at the ring road's north eastern link to the current motorway network.

This short length of 25 year old motorway, jutting southward from its junction with the transpennine M62, was always planned as the start of the orbital route. But it was built as a two lane section, substandard by today's motorway specifications, and needed major reconstruction, both horizontally and vertically, to convert it into the four lane M60.

Contractor Costain's planned two year contract from June 1993 was, bar Mrs Conroy and the object of her worries, relatively straightforward. But it still managed to overrun by eight months and cost an extra £11M. Delays have long since been awarded as time and cost extensions with problems centring on bad weather and Mrs Conroy's hill.

The 1975 section had ended in a roundabout and a vast 220,000m 3pile of earth, all of which had now to be removed.

Most was the remains of a mixed use rubbish dump containing a larger than expected range of deposits from household fire ash to low level chemicals and metals.

'Ivala' is the rather soothing name for the new grass covered hillside alongside the motorway into which this mound of earth has metamorphosed. Residents exercising their dogs on the 'Irk Valley Additional Landscaping Area' will mostly be unaware that the clay capped slopes beneath them are still being monitored constantly for gases and leachate quality through a network of two dozen boreholes.

'Readings are always well below permitted contamination levels, ' says Bailey, adding that Mrs Conroy and her offspring would be welcome to inspect them anytime.

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