A580 road

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A580 road shield

A580 road
Route information
Length: 29.5 mi (47.5 km)
History: Construction began 29 April 1929 and finished in 1934
Major junctions
West end: Walton, Liverpool
  A5058 A5058 road
[ M 57  ] M57 motorway
A59 A59 road
A5207 A5207 road
A5208 A5208 road
A570 A570 road
A571 A571 road
A58 A58 road
A49 A49 road
[ M 6  ] M6 motorway
A573 A573 road
A572 A572 road
A579 A579 road
A574 A574 road
A577 A577 road
A575 A575 road
[ M 61  ] M61 motorway
[ M 60  ] M60 motorway
A5185 A5185 road
A666 A666 road
A6 A6 road
East end: Irlams o' th' Height, Salford (A6)
Location
Primary
destinations
:
St Helens, Merseyside
Road network

The A580 (officially the Liverpool-East Lancashire Road) is the United Kingdom's first purpose-built intercity highway.[1] The road, which remains a primary A road, was officially opened by King George V on 18 July 1934. It links Walton in Liverpool to Salford near Manchester. The road is known colloquially as the "East Lancs Road" or simply "the Lancs".[1]

Purpose[edit]

The road was built to provide better access between the Port of Liverpool and the industrial areas of East Lancashire around Manchester.[1] The new high-quality trunk road would supersede the indirect and heavily built-up A57 through Prescot, Warrington and Eccles. Journey times for road haulage would be reduced to under an hour.

History[edit]

A section of the "East Lancs Road" at Wardley in the City of Salford.

First phase (completed)[edit]

The first part, which was completed within three years, was from Walton, Liverpool to the junction with the A6 at Irlams o' th' Height in Salford. The 29.5 mi (47.5 km) road was constructed in an almost straight alignment with few curves.

To be a high-speed trunk route, its 1930s planners designed some parts to be three-roads-in-one. The central section was exclusively for through traffic while adjacent side roads - either side of the main carriageway - provided local access.[1] Although the sections within Liverpool were dual carriageway from the beginning, a few short stretches through Salford continue to use the original three-lane layout. The rest of the road was converted to dual with a central reservation in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the original 1930s bridges remain; they were built from steel in preparation for any future expansion as they would be easier to replace than ones constructed from moulded concrete.

The road remains the UK's largest pre-motorway project. In 2004 the Highways Agency detrunked the road, passing control and maintenance over to the local authorities along its route.

Second phase (uncompleted)[edit]

With the completion of the first phase, the next stage was to extend the road beyond Salford and into East Lancashire proper. However this was never undertaken. Its failure was largely due to the road's location. Despite linking North West England's largest cities, the East Lancs remained isolated from the rest of the UK's national road network. Both ends of the highway began in high-density urban areas that were not close to any comparable infrastructure that could assist rapid transit connections.

By 1942, proposals were put forward to extend the A580 across the Pennines to Hull on the east coast of Britain.[2] Although this plan never came to fruition, its purpose became the foundation for the construction of the M62 motorway in 1960.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Early Highways Liverpool-East Lancashire Road A580". Historic Highways. Lancashire County Council. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Preston Bypass". http://www.cbrd.co.uk. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°28′15″N 2°36′54″W / 53.4707°N 2.6149°W / 53.4707; -2.6149