|Length:||122 miles (196.3 km)|
|Meets:||A5036, A5042, A565, A5051, A5038, A59, A5046, A5047, A580, A5048, B5173, B5188, B5189, A5047, A5058, B5198, A526, M57, B5194, A58, B5199, B5200, B5201, B5413, M62, A557, A570, B5419, A569, A562, A574, A5061, A49, A50, M6, B5210, B5159, B5212, B5320, M60, B5211, B5231, B5230, A576, B5228, A5186, M602, A5063, A5066, B5461, A6042, A57(M), A56, A5067, A6, A665, A6010, B6178, B6167, M67, A6017, A627, A560, B6174, A6018, A628, A626, A6016, A624, B6105, A6013, A6101, B6547, B6069, A61, B6539, B6070, B6073, A630, B6064, B6053, B6200, A618, B6067, M1, B6463, B6059, B6060, B6041, A60, B6024, B6034, B6040, A1, A614, B6420, A638, A6075, A1133, A156, B1190, B1241, A46, B1273, A1192, A15|
|Old route now:||A1|
|Route outline (key)|
- 1 Route
- 2 Links
The A57 was nearly a coast to coast route. It passes through three major city centres (Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield - with elevated sections in each) and several smaller ones, multiplexes with the A6 and the A1, follows the banks of two canals and negotiates the remotest part of the Peak District. In one city it part of it is a tram route, whilst in another its former route is also a tram route. After all these adventures, it sadly gives up just 40 miles short of the east coast, Lincoln apparently proving too big an obstacle. An obvious candidate for an eastward extension would have been the Wragby Road, continuing to Louth or Skegness. Is it coincidence that road was originally the A157?
The 1946 Trunk Roads Act created a Liverpool-Skegness trunk road which incorporated three sections of the A57: Liverpool-Warrington, Hattersley-Hollingworth, and Sheffield-Lincoln. Only the second of these three is still trunk today.
Section 1: Liverpool - Manchester
The A57 starts on the waterfront in Liverpool opposite the Three Graces. It heads east as the one-way westbound Water Street before running over the elevated Churchill Way across the Scotland Road (A59) and then getting lost. It reappears to the east of the city centre halfway along London Road (the actual through route has been closed to traffic) and heads out of town as the Prescot Road, crossing the M57 at junction 2 near Prescot (where the A58 also starts, and takes over the primary route status).
From Prescot the A57 continues as non-primary through Rainhill to meet the M62 at junction 7, and resumes primary status as far as Warrington and the A49. There is a brief non-primary section to the M6 (junction 21), then it is primary again as far as the M60 (junction 11). This section runs alongside the Manchester Ship Canal, bypasses Irlam and Cadishead and passes Barton Aerodrome on the left. Beyond the M60 the A57 passes through Eccles and Salford, running next to the M602 on the Eccles New Road. Part of the Metrolink tram system's recent Eccles extension runs along this road. At the roundabout at the eastern end of the M602 the A57 finally becomes the main road into Manchester from the west.
Section 2: Manchester - Sheffield
The A57 crosses the River Irwell at Regent Bridge before entering its moment of motorway glory as the A57(M) Mancunian Way skirting the south of Manchester's city centre on an elevated section and crossing the A56 and A34. This includes a half-completed exit that goes the wrong way up Brook Street (a one way street). The original A57 ran further north through the city centre along Liverpool Road (now the A6143) and Whitworth Street (B6469) as far as the A6 London Road which marked the start of a multiplex.
At the end of Mancunian Way, we reach a TOTSO, straight on being the short unsigned A635(M) and thence the A635 (for Saddleworth Moor, Barnsley and Doncaster) whilst the A57 turns south, briefly multiplexing with the A6, and then branching off along Hyde Road. This section of road was extensively cleared for the westward extension for the M67, and consequently has seen a lot of redevelopment.
The A57 meets the M60 at junction 24 with the infamous "ski" jump of the M67 not far away. From here to the other side of Hyde, the road is bypassed by the M67, until the motorway gives out at a roundabout with the A560 and all traffic is dumped back onto the A57 through Mottram Moor. Despite extensive campaigning, and numerous signs from frustrated locals crying out for a bypass, the A57 through Mottram remains part of the principal trunk road from Manchester to Sheffield. There's a junction with the A6018 halfway along to add to the fun.
At the other side of Mottram, the A628 takes up the trunk route over Longendale, Woodhead Pass, while the A57 loses its primary status, TOTSOs to the right, and enters Derbyshire. It meanders along suburban traffic into the centre of Glossop, where it meets the A624 at traffic lights in the town centre.
On the other side of Glossop, the scenery changes dramatically as the road becomes the start of the Snake Pass and starts to climb the Pennines. After the first hairpin bend, wonderful views of the landscape unfold around the pass as it winds its way up Coldharbour Moor, which marks the watershed between the Irish Sea and the North Sea. We reach a height of around 521 m above sea level at the top, and the road has a speed restriction of 50 mph. You really don't want to get stuck behind anything that is slow, because there aren't that many overtaking opportunities.
At the top of the pass, the road drops down into forest, past the eponymous Snake Pass Inn, and enters the valley of the River Derwent, where the route has been realigned due to construction of the Ladybower Reservoir (more for engineering reasons; virtually none of the old A57 has been flooded). When the reservoir was first filled, the church spire of Derwent village to the north could still be seen protruding from the water, but it was later demolished. Traces of other buildings can still be seen during droughts. The A57 crosses the main valley of the Derwent by a large viaduct, the scale of which is concealed by the deep waters of the reservoir. We now head back uphill, go back up to NSL and are on a much better, faster road where we can finally get up to some speed before we reach Sheffield. Apart from at weekends, the road is reasonably quiet. We head into the city in a 40 mph zone.
Section 3: Sheffield
The A57 enters Sheffield via Manchester Road, Fulwood Road and Western Bank. It is a relatively quiet way into the city, maybe because back at Mottram, Sheffield is signed up the A628, A616 and M1 (a much longer route). At the Brook Hill roundabout, the route breaks until the far side of the city centre - traffic being directed around the A61. The original route along Glossop Road was reclassified as the B6069 in the 1970s and then again later in 2008 as the B6547. The original route through the city centre along West Street is now occupied by a tram line. When the new Inner Ring Road was built, the route down Broad Lane and Corporation Street ceased to be the A57; it is now the B6539 and those in the know will use this route as it is much more direct.
Restarting again on the east of the city centre, the now-primary A57 continues along the Sheffield Parkway when the A61 Inner Ring Road turns off at an unusually shaped signalised junction. The A57 heads towards the M1, Rotherham and Worksop, passing under the shadow of the towering Hyde Park Flats complex (although not as towering as they were before being refurbished in 1990). The route passes along a green boulevard with glimpses to the north of the Lower Don Valley, the former heart of steel manufacturing. After a couple of miles, the A57 passes under the A6102 Prince Of Wales Road, which although signed as the Ring Road, forms a second Outer Ring Road (the term Outer Ring Road is no longer prescribed by the DfT). Almost immediately we reach another TOTSO, where the A630 goes on to Rotherham and to a meeting with the M1 at junction 33, and the A57 picks up Worksop as a target destination along the Mosborough Parkway, which is mainly S2+1 and WS2 along its whole length. Although this is a bypass, it is actually quicker to continue along the A630 and then south on the M1 to junction 31 to rejoin the A57. The bypass was originally planned as a grade-separated expressway to the M1 at Junction 30 (Barlborough Interchange).
Section 4: Sheffield to A1
Leaving Sheffield, we join Aston Way which is the c. 1980s bypass route of the A57 to relieve the villages Aston and Swallownest of traffic, although ironically, the traffic levels through the village now exceed the levels that justified the bypass in the first place. Aston Way is a mix of S2/S2+1 and a short section of dual carriageway, a new roundabout was built at its junction with the southern leg of A618 in the late 1990s as a casualty reduction measure and the right turn from the northern leg was forced to U-turn around the new roundabout. Borehole records suggest that one of the route options for the western terminus included a route that passed closer to the River Rother and linked into the existing A57 near Furnace Lane, rather than at Fence.
The route passes over the M1 at Junction 31, and continues east along the original route, towards Anston. Plans have been floating around for decades to upgrade this section, the most recent developed in 2002 to form a dual carriageway between the M1 to a point about a quarter of a mile east of the B6463, however allocation of funding has been a major obstacle - the current position as of November 2008 was that £16.99m was allocated for a start on site in April 2011, with completion in 11 months.
The A57 continues along its original line all the way to the Worksop Bypass which was completed in 1982. The bypass gave much needed relief to the centre of the market town of Worksop and is a mix of dual-carriageway, WS2 and S2 type roads with large roundabouts at each end and at four key junctions along the route, linking with the B6041, A60, B6024, B6034 and B6040. Worksop has become a key distribution centre for numerous businesses including Wilkinsons and Insight Technologies. The A57 continues towards the A1 past Clumber Park to the new grade-separated junction built in 2008 that replaced the former Dukeries roundabout, now known as Apleyhead.
Section 5: A1 to Lincoln
From here to Markham Moor the A1 has adopted it as the southernmost part of its bypass of Retford, Bawtry and Doncaster. At Markham Moor, the A1 and A57 part company, the A1 rejoining its original route (coming in from Retford as the A638), whilst the A57 bypasses East Markham to meet the A6075 at Darlton. This little road could have been famous, as beyond Mansfield it becomes the A38. Had it been numbered as a logical extension of the A38 it would have been a 3-road in the 1-zone!
The A57 crosses Dunham Toll Bridge - the only crossing of the River Trent between Newark and Gainsborough - and into Lincolnshire. Over the years this section has been considerably straightened out - I suspect that until the bridge came there was no main route this way at all, and the road from Dunham Bridge to Drinsey Nook was just a collection of country lanes.
At Drinsey Nook the A57 gives way to the road that uses the bank of the Foss Dyke canal (not to be confused with the Fosse Way - the A46) most of the way from Torksey, on the River Trent, to Lincoln. This is the A156 coming in from Gainsborough, but beyond the junction continues as the A57 towards Lincoln. The canal was built by the Romans to provide a short cut between the Wash and the upper Trent, avoiding the treacherous waters of the Humber and lower Trent.
The bypass of Saxilby, where the road crosses the Foss Dyke and the Gainsborough-Lincoln railway line, was opened on 15 September 1937. This event is commemorated by a plaque on the bridge.
The view from the A57, or the parallel railway on the other bank of the canal, makes this the best way to approach Lincoln, with the cathedral and other landmarks on the hill seen to best advantage. After crossing the city bypass (A46) the A57 enters the western end of the city across the old racecourse. It used to terminate at a junction with the A15 (High Street) at the medieval Stonebow, but following pedestrianisation of the High Street it was diverted along Wigford Way and Oxford Street to meet the A15 there. However, in 2017 the A57 was diverted along the 1990's-built Brayford Way, where it crosses a bridge over the Fossdyke and the railway line to meet a roundabout with the A1192. The A57 turns left on to the 1980's-built Ropewalk and goes down Tentercroft Street to the newly-built East West Link Road to meet the A15 south of the railway line. The previous A57 in the centre of Lincoln became parts of the B1273, B1003 and B199.
Campaign Group for Mottram to Tintwistle By Pass
Haydn Vernals Roads Pages
Sheffield City Council
- Brookhill Roundabout
- West Bar Roundabout
- Western Bank
- Manchester Rd/Furnlawton Rd
- Bernard Rd/Parkway
- M1 Aston