Until the early 1970s, the road ran from a junction with the A57 road at Bold Heath, four miles west of Warrington. The road currently begins at junction 7 (Rainhill Stoops) of the M62 motorway in Merseyside, and runs in a northerly direction as a dual carriageway through the centre of St Helens, meeting the A58 road, then the A580 road to the north of the town. The road continues in a north-westerly direction, bypassing Rainford to dual carriageway standard. It crosses the border into Lancashire, before reaching junction 3 of the M58 motorway. Continuing north-westerly still, as a single carriageway road it travels through Ormskirk, meeting the A59 road at a crossroads. North-west of Ormskirk, it crosses over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and meets the A5147 road near Scarisbrick. Shortly afterwards, it crosses the border back into Merseyside, and reaches the town of Southport. It terminates at its junction with the A565 road in the centre of the town.
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