A59 road

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A59 shield

A59 road map.png
The Long Causeway
Route information
Length: 109 mi[1] (175 km)
Major junctions
West end: Wallasey 53°24′53″N 3°04′18″W / 53.4146°N 3.0718°W / 53.4146; -3.0718
East end: York 53°57′15″N 1°05′38″W / 53.9541°N 1.0938°W / 53.9541; -1.0938
Liverpool, Preston, Clitheroe, Skipton, Harrogate
Road network

The A59 is a major road in England which is around 109 miles (175 km) long and runs from Wallasey, Merseyside to York, North Yorkshire. The road is a combination of historical routes combined with contemporary roads and a mixture of dual and single carriageway. Much of the A59 in Merseyside follows Victorian routes and is largely unchanged to the present day. Numerous bypasses have been contructed throughout the 20th century, the earliest being the Longton bypass in the late 1950s followed by others through the following decades, particularly where traffic through towns was congested.

Sections of the road have previously been noted as being amongst the most dangerous in the country, particularly in Yorkshire, despite continued efforts to improve road safety.



The A59 starts in Wallasey at the northern end of the M53 motorway and heading through the Kingsway Tunnel. In the centre of Liverpool, a separate 0.7 miles (1.1 km) spur heads north from the roundabout junction at the entrance of the Queensway Tunnel, joining the main route at Scotland Road in Vauxhall. It continues north through Kirkdale and Walton, passing Aintree Racecourse and Ormskirk Road (forming the boundary between Aintree and Netherton), before reaching Switch Island junction where it meets the A5036, M57 motorway and the M58 motorway. From Switch Island, the A59 travels through Maghull and Lydiate, into Lancashire through Aughton and thence to Ormskirk, closely following the Merseyrail Northern Line path.


A dual-carriageway stretch of A59 near Clitheroe

At Ormskirk, it reverts from a dual to single carriageway on an old bypass. The road follows through Burscough and Rufford, despite a bypass being considered for this section in the early 1980s,[2] before reaching the A565 at Tarleton. The road continues over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and River Douglas through to Longton (and Hutton) bypass, where it returns to dual carriageway. Passing Lancashire Police HQ, the road continues through Penwortham across the River Ribble into Preston, by-passing the city centre via Ring Way, where the A583 from Blackpool converges. It briefly merges with the A6 before heading East and meeting the M6 at junction 31, after which the road splits into two separate carriageways until it meets the A677 for Blackburn.

The A59 continues through Myerscough Smithy then runs around the perimeter of Samlesbury Aerodrome (a British Aerospace installation). As Longsight Road, it passes through Salesbury until meeting A666, at which point it bypasses Billington, Whalley and Clitheroe before going through the village of Gisburn.


From Horton it enters North Yorkshire and goes through West and East Marton before meeting the A56, after which the road passes Broughton. Past Broughton, the road meets the Skipton bypass at its western end, where it overlaps the A65 on its route between Kendal and Leeds, de-merging with the A65 further to the east. The road continues over the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway through a roundabout junction with the B6260 before rising up Beamsley hill. At the top of the hill, the road crosses into the Harrogate district, at which points there is a long narrow descent to Blubberhouses village.

A stretch of A59 between Skipton and Harrogate

The A59 then runs along the head of Fewston Reservoir and follows the route of a Roman road past the 'golf balls' at Menwith Hill, an RAF station. As Skipton Road, the A59 then declines towards Harrogate passing Kettlesing. Reaching Harrogate as Skipton Road, it meets the A61 Ripon Road for Ripon, Harrogate town centre and Leeds, before continuing through the suburbs of the town as Skipton Road. Part of this section travels across the Stray, an act-protected tract of grassy land which horseshoes around the town centre. The A59 then turns left at the Empress Roundabout, which is itself on the Stray, towards Starbeck, although traffic travelling towards York is directed onto the A661 Wetherby Road to utilise the A658 Harrogate and Knaresborough Southern Bypass. The A59, however, continues to travel through Starbeck as Knaresborough Road and later High Street, then heads east to Knaresborough until arriving at York as York Road.

The remainder of the route is comparatively flat. From Knaresborough, the A59 meets up with York-directed traffic from Harrogate on the A658, and skirts to the north of Goldsborough towards the A1(M). The A59 heads towards York, travelling close to such places as Nun Monkton, Upper Poppleton and Moor Monkton before finally ending just to the west of the city walls at a zebra crossing at the junction of Bishopthorpe Road and Nunnery Lane, the A1036.


19th century[edit]

Much of the present-day Merseyside alignment is unchanged over the last century, with the route through Liverpool to Switch Island junction in Aintree utilising existing road infastructure from the Victorian era, such as Scotland Road.[3] The present day alignment between Switch Island junction and Aughton, Lancashire via Maghull was non-existant prior to the 20th century, with the connecting roads being typically smaller lanes which still exist today. The A59's Ormskirk junction with the B5195 Turnpike Road is where the A59's continues along its Victorian alignment, known as Hollborn Hill before continuing through Ormskirk and West Lancashire.[4]

20th century[edit]

A bypass of Ormskirk town centre appeared on maps from 1929 onwards, known then as "Byepass Road" and now forming the A59.[5] Numerous additional bypasses have been built over time to realign the A59 away from routes where it may have previously travelled through busy towns and cities. One of the earliest bypass examples was in Lancashire with the Longton Bypass, which was constructed during 1956-57 at an estimated cost of £491,000 (equivalent to £11,050,000 in 2015).[6] Prior to the bypass, the A59 travelled through the villages of Walmer Bridge, Longton and Hutton before being realigned to their east.[7]

Old and new courses of the A59 at Hazlewood

In Yorkshire at Beamsley Hill, there are two lanes east-bound (on an incline) and a single lane west-bound, some of which was improved at various points during the late 20th century; such was the case in Hazlewood for example, where the A59 was rerouted to become a largely straight road, bypassing the now older winding route which exists to its north-west.[8] The A59 was also rerouted just to the east of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway during the same period, requiring construction of a new Bolton Bridge over the River Wharfe, with the former alignment now forming a bridleway.[9]

Up until the early 1970s, the start of the A59 was in the centre of Liverpool; this now forms a small spur connecting to the present day A59, which runs through the Kingsway Tunnel from its start point in Wallasey. The Birkenhead alignment of the A59 utilises a disused railway cutting to link the road up to the M53 motorway.[10][11] In Lancashire, the A59 was realigned[12] during the same period in the early 1970s, to bypass the towns of Clitheroe and Whalley and was constructed as a single-carriageway despite parliamentary concerns that it would be less safe than a dual-carriageway.[13] The bypass had been confirmed the year before at an estimated cost of £3.4 million (equivalent to £50,467,522 in 2015).[14]

the A59 in Skipton and Knaresborough

The A59 stretch of the Skipton Bypass was opened in 1981 at an estimated cost of £16.4 million (equivalent to £56,689,845 in 2015),[15] providing welcome relief to the town, which often became a bottleneck as through traffic crossed in the town. The concurrent bypass crosses the B6265 north of the town.[16] The A59 was upgraded to primary status during the 1990s due to its increased perceived importance as an east-west route.[citation needed] The route passes through the suburbs of Skipton as Skipton Road after meeting the A61, largely due to the history of the town, given Harrogate's centre was traditionally known as 'Low Harrogate', whilst the A59 travels through 'High Harrogate'.[citation needed] This stretch of the route was claimed in 2004 to be one of the busiest roads in North Yorkshire.[17]

Whilst now skirting to the north of Goldsborough towards the A1(M), originally the route went through the village of Flaxby and onto Allerton, but the route now travels a stricted east-west route and meets the A1(M) at its junction 47. The road originally ended to the south of Green Hammerton, with the A66 routed down from Boroughbridge and going into York.[citation needed]


A scheme to improve the A59 link between Liverpool and Preston was proposed during the mid-1970s, at that time considered to potentially become the M59 Motorway, with investigations into all practical options being considered,[18] however the motorway ultimately was never constructed.

The A59 in Yorkshire was part of North Yorkshire's 30 year transport plan in 2016, including maintenance of potholes and resurfacing works, as well as the potential construction of new routes.[19]

Numerous sections of the route have been realigned at various stages, particularly where the previous alignment had travelled through busy villages or towns.

Section Start End Constructed Type
Longton Bypass[6] Walmer Bridge Hutton 1956-1957 Dual-carriageway
Clitheroe-Whalley Bypass[14] Billington Chatburn 1969-1970 Single-carriageway
Skipton Bypass[20] Broughton Skipton 1979-1981 Single-carriageway
Ormskirk Bypass[21] Bickerstaffe Bretherton Proposed 1982 Not constructed
Burscough Bypass[22] Burscough Proposed 1982 Not constructed
Green Hammerton Bypass[23] Green Hammerton 1988-1989 Single-carriageway
Mellor Brook Bypass[24] Mellor Brook 1991-1992 Single-carriageway

Road safety[edit]

The A59 has persistently featured in the top 10 most dangerous roads in Britain.[25] A report by The Sunday Times in 2004 branded a section of road between the towns of Skipton and Harrogate as being "the most hazardous primary route in the nation", suggesting that the cost to implement safety measures to reduce the number of incidents could be in the region of £3m. North Yorkshire County Council claimed they were taking steps to reduce fatalities on the road and that accidents on the stretch in question was still too high, despite the number of accidents in 2003 being at its lowest in six years.[26] The newspaper had also reported on the lives of those who have lost loved ones on the road.[27]

In 2008 European Road Assessment Programme reported the risk of being involved in a death or disabling injury accident as being between Low-medium and Medium-high depending on the section of road travelled.[28]

There were renewed calls in 2017 to improve the A59 in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, with MP Nigel Evans describing the A59 as a "dangerous road" whilst requesting the police carry out a full audit of accidents in an effort to tackle the problem.[29]

Junctions and landmarks[edit]

There are numerous junctions along the route of the A59, including motorway and other A-road junctions. Major lunctions and landmarks are listed below.

Distance Junction/Landmark Location
0 miles (0 km) Junction 1.svg UK-Motorway-M53.svg M53 motorway Wallasey
Pictograms-nps-misc-tunnel.svg Kingsway Tunnel
Riversign.jpg River Mersey
4.3 miles (6.9 km)[30] A580 East Lancashire Road (from spur) Kirkdale
5.6 miles (9.0 km)[30] A5058 Queens Drive Walton
9.1 miles (14.6 km)[31] Junction 7.svg UK-Motorway-M57.svg M57 motorway Aintree
Junction 1.svg UK-Motorway-M58.svg M58 motorway
15.3 miles (24.6 km)[32] A570 Southport Road Ormskirk
25 miles (40 km)[32] A565 A565 road Tarleton
Riversign.jpg River Ribble
Icon train.svg West Coast Main Line
34.5 miles (55.5 km)[33] A6 A6 road Preston
36.9 miles (59.4 km)[33] 31 UK-Motorway-M6.svg M6 motorway
Parlick 234-34.jpg Forest of Bowland
58.1 miles (93.5 km)[33] A682 Burnley Road Gisburn
64.8 miles (104.3 km)[34] A56 A56 road Broughton
67.8 miles (109.1 km)[34] A65 Skipton Bypass Skipton
2015 Swaledale from Kisdon Hill.jpg Yorkshire Dales
89.2 miles (143.6 km)[34] A61 Ripon Road Harrogate
97.3 miles (156.6 km)[34] 47 UK-Motorway-A1 (M).svg A1(M) motorway Allerton Mauleverer
107.4 miles (172.8 km)[34] A1237 A1237 road Upper Poppleton
Icon train.svg East Coast Main Line
109.9 miles (176.9 km)[34] A1036 Blossom Street York


  1. ^ "Google Maps A59 route". Google Maps. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Burscough (Bypass) Proposal 1981". Millbank Systems. 19 December 1981. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Merseyside (c1900 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Maghull & Aughton (c1900 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Lancashire OS six-inch, Edition of 1929, Ormskirk Division". National Library of Scotland. 1929. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Longton By-Pass Estimated Cost". Millbank Systems. 14 March 1957. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Longton (1937-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Hazelwood (1937-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Bolton Bridge (1937-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Wallasey (1955-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Mersey Tunnel Users Association - History". Tunnel Users. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Clitheroe Bypass (1955-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  13. ^ "Whalley—Clitheroe By-Pass Lords Debate". Millbank Systems. 4 February 1970. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "Whalley—Clitheroe By-Pass Estimated Cost". Millbank Systems. 10 February 1969. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "Timeline History of Skipton". Visitor UK. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "Side by Side Map Viewer, Skipton (1937-61 to present day)". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  17. ^ "New appeals for £23m bypass". Yorkshire Post. 17 May 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  18. ^ "M59 (Preston-Liverpool) Update Request". Millbank Systems. 18 June 1974. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "Big new transport plan: A64 & A59 could be improved but cyclists to lose out". York Press. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "Trunk Road Schemes started 1979". Millbank Systems. 6 November 1979. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  21. ^ "Ormskirk Bypass 1979". Millbank Systems. 22 June 1979. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  22. ^ "Burscough Bypass". Millbank Systems. 27 October 1982. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Transport Supplementary Grant". Millbank Systems. 7 March 1988. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  24. ^ "Bypasses and Service Stations". Millbank Systems. 24 July 1996. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  25. ^ "How Safe Are Britain's Main Roads?" (PDF). The AA Motoring Trust. 31 May 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  26. ^ "Countil hits back over danger road". Ripon Gazette. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  27. ^ Webster, Ben (15 June 2004). "Britain's most dangerous road"Paid subscription required. The Times. London: News International. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  28. ^ "Search Results - GB A59 (Risk Rate)". EuroRAP. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  29. ^ "Calls to reduce number of crashes on A59 after 24-year-old woman seriously injured". Lancashire Telegraph. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  30. ^ a b A59 start to A5058 through A580 (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  31. ^ A5058 to Switch Island (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  32. ^ a b /53.6732858,-2.831068/@53.5845613,-2.9404477,11.94z/am=t/data=!4m13!4m12!1m0!1m8!2m2!1d-2.8909332!2d53.5718346!3m4!1m2!1d-2.891011!2d53.5717582!3s0x487b17cccbc030c5:0x9c0fce33caff06e8!1m0!3e0 Switch Island to Tarleton (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  33. ^ a b c Tarleton to Gisburn (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f Gisburn to York (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°56′32″N 2°13′17″W / 53.94235°N 2.22132°W / 53.94235; -2.22132