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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (18)
From:  Helsby (SJ479740)
To:  Saughall (SJ365718)
Distance:  7.8 miles (12.6 km)
Meets:  A56, M56, M53, B5132, A5032, A41, A494, A540
Old route now:  A494
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Cheshire West and Chester • National Highways

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A5117 Helsby - Backford Cross
A5117 Backford Cross - Saughall
A5117 Saughall - Shotwick

The A5117 is a road, first constructed in the 1930s, that today largely parallels the final six miles of the western end of the M56 in Cheshire.


The route starts close to Helsby, at the point where the A56 TOTSOs southwest towards Chester. The A5117 heads uphill slightly and then back downhill past fields towards the M56, crossing the motorway at J14. This is where the strangely named Chester services are – I've no idea why they're called that because they are actually in Elton, bordering on Ellesmere Port, and nowhere near Chester! Continuing west, the road becomes dual-carriageway for a few miles. In recent times, traffic lights have been installed at an improved junction just the other side of the motorway. It continues almost straight to a major traffic-light-controlled junction with the Shell refinery.

Passing the refinery

On the far side of the lights the road narrows back to S2, but remains NSL. The road here is also very straight as it passes part of the refinery, which you can smell almost constantly along this stretch. No amount of tall trees lined along this stretch will stop the refinery being visible. The road passes underneath the M53 at Junction 10. Most weekends and bank holidays, traffic builds up here from the motorway for Cheshire Oaks, which is situated only a few hundred yards away off the next roundabout, literally 100 yds or so away from the motorway roundabout! This very short section has three lanes, the outer two often used for turning right.

Anyway, over the roundabout we continue along the A5117, past a couple of junctions (one of which on the left takes you to the old 'back entrance' to Chester Zoo, although all traffic now has to use the main entrance on the A41) and a family pub on your right. We then come across another roundabout which we go straight over again. This section of the A5117 used to be very rural indeed up until the 2000s when yet another housing estate popped up on the right hand side, which sadly took the corner off Stanney Woods. The road here is a nice straight NSL S2. We come across another roundabout, locally known as 'Strawberry Roundabout' – there used to be a pub on the corner called 'The Strawberry' but that burnt down (read my A5032 review for more details).

The A5117 continues as straight as it did previously, past another field or two to another roundabout where it meets the A41. Again, we go over the roundabout and the road remains NSL but slowly curves to the left, where it passes more fields, an ex-petrol station which is now a used car dealership, and a small industrial complex on the left just before we take a sharp left bend to Dunkirk Roundabout, the former western terminus of the M56.

From here the route continues along a newly formed S2 link road to join up with the A540 at traffic lights where the A5517 now ends, although before the upgrade works it continued west to end on the A540. This, as a result, also retains the main access to the weighbridge located on top of Dunkirk Roundabout. It also meets the A494 here by turning left at the junction with the A540 and taking the second exit from the roundabout.


The 1936 OS Ten Mile map

The 9 mile road from Shotwick (A550) to Helsby Arms Junction, south-west of Helsby (A56) was officially opened on 18 July 1936 by Leslie Hore-Belisha, Minister of Transport. Both the 1936-37 OS MoT map and the 1936 OS Ten inch map show only the section west of Little Stanney which indicates that this section was opened before the full road opening.

Cost was £375,000 of which 75% was funded by Ministry. Average daily labour was 104. An "invisible ray" car timing device was demonstrated to the Minister (who did 36.6mph). This consisted of 2 pairs of tripods and lenses facing each other at a distance of a mile and was the idea of Geoffrey Scrimgeour, Clerk to Cheshire County Council.

The 2.2 mile D2 dualling from A550 at Shotwick to Lea-by-Backford was completed in January 1977 per the Policy for Roads: England 1978 Report. Outturn works cost was £0.7 million.

Recent developments

These include:

  • Removing the roundabout interchange at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet and replacing it with traffic lights. This was done to prepare for the opening of the UK's second largest M&S store.
  • Adding traffic lights at the junction with the housing estate at Cheshire Oaks.
  • The new interchange at Dunkirk with the M56, A494, and A540 – otherwise known as M56 J16.


National Highways

Related Pictures
View gallery (18)
Parkgate Road - Geograph - 872598.jpgLodge Lane Bridge - Coppermine - 15479.jpg07 - Coppermine - 15477.jpgBackford Cross Roundabout - Geograph - 3314590.jpgHapsford Interchange 1973.jpg
Other nearby roads
Ellesmere Port
A5100 • A5101 • A5102 • A5103 • A5104 • A5105 • A5106 • A5107 • A5108 • A5109 • A5110 • A5111 • A5112 • A5113 • A5114 • A5115 • A5116 • A5117 • A5118 • A5119
A5120 • A5121 • A5122 • A5123 • A5124 • A5125 • A5126 • A5127 • A5128 • A5129 • A5130 • A5131 • A5132 • A5133 • A5134 • A5135 • A5136 • A5137 • A5138 • A5139
A5140 • A5141 • A5142 • A5143 • A5144 • A5145 • A5146 • A5147 • A5148 • A5149 • A5150 • A5151 • A5152(W) • A5152(E) • A5153 • A5154 • A5155 • A5156 • A5157 • A5158 • A5159
A5160 • A5161 • A5162 • A5163 • A5164 • A5165 • A5166 • A5167 • A5168 • A5169 • A5170 • A5171 • A5172 • A5173 • A5174 • A5175 • A5176 • A5177 • A5178 • A5179
A5180 • A5181 • A5182 • A5183 • A5184 • A5185 • A5186 • A5187 • A5188 • A5189 • A5190 • A5191 • A5192 • A5193 • A5194 • A5195 • A5196 • A5197 • A5198 • A5199
Former uses: A5104 • A5112 • A5125

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