|To:||St. Helens (SJ526954)|
|Via:||Worsley, Boothstown, Astley, Leigh, Lowton, Newton-le-Willows, Parr|
|Distance:||18.9 miles (30.4 km)|
|Meets:||A6, A580, M60, A575, A577, A580, A5082, A574, A578, A579, A580, A579, A573, A49, A58|
|Route outline (key)|
Swinton - Astley
The road starts in Swinton at a dog-legged T-junction with the A6. The road then heads in a south-westerly direction, crossing the A580 at the Charlie Browns lights (there used to be a Charlie Browns garage on the corner). The road then heads in a generally westerly curve into Worsley, apart from a rather sharp corner at the junction with Hazelhurst Road. For a brief time, the road leaves the urban environment and heads through the wooded edge of Worsley Golf Course, before heading into Worsley Village itself.
Here, the road meets with the M60 at the infamous junction 13, where the A575 and B5211 also terminate. The road gains primary status – but only for the short section between the two roundabouts on either side of the motorway! The A572 heads straight under the M60, then makes a shallow climb through Worsley Woods towards Boothstown (past a rather smart, somewhat rebuilt Millionaires' Row). This is the first section of road where the speed limit is increased, to 40mph; however up to about five years ago there was a National Speed Limit in force. As soon as you hit the edge of Boothstown, the limit drops back to 30mph. Having passed through the centre of Boothstown, the road TOTSOs at the junction with the A577. Again there is a bit of a climb, often with cars parked down both sides and buses struggling to get through. Next is the Queens Roundabout, a rather odd-looking, angular hamburger roundabout, where the A580 East Lancs Road dissects the village and the A572 crosses once more.
After crossing the “Lancs”, the A572 continues to head west, now entering Wigan Borough (from Salford). Signs show Tyldesley too; however recent council ward boundaries have made this a little inaccurate. Its actually the former mining village of Astley, which is actually bigger in size than its neighbouring town! The road heads through an industrial area firstly, before entering the village itself. There are numerous busy junctions here. The first is Cross Hillock, which has two unclassified roads coming off it, both with right turn bans imposed (to cut the accident rate). Secondly is a roundabout for the A5082, which is meant to be the official route from the A572 up to the A577 at Tyldesley. However, this is a winding road, so most people use the unclassified Prince's Avenue, which leads off at the next junction, a mini-roundabout which is found in the centre of the village of Blackmoor. Prince's Avenue goes in a straight line.
Astley - St Helens
The road now takes a winding course heading up out of the village, past a very large high school. The road remains at 30mph, but that starts to feel a bit slow – there is a GATSO now positioned next to a golfing range just further up. The road now enters Leigh, here passing a cemetery and another large high school, before making a very tight left turn with a rather dangerous double mini-roundabout immediately after it!! However, the road proceeds ahead, and curves round to the next set of lights at the junction with the A574 at Butts Bridge. Carrying on, the road proceeds past a large police station and heads onto the town centre bypass, where at both ends are primary, green-coloured road signs, despite this not being a primary route!. After about a quarter of a mile the bypass ends, and the road TOTSOs again at the bus station traffic lights.
Here the road heads south, in a gentle snaking shape down to Lowton, crossing the A579 alongside Pennington Flash Country Park, and passing yet another high school. Shortly after, the road reaches the Lane Head junction in the middle of Lowton, where the A572 crosses the A580 for the third and final time. At this point the A572 gains primary status for all of half a mile as the A579 multiplexes along it, and in this short section will cross through three sets of lights: the A580, the B5207 Golborne to Culcheth road, and the A579 T-junction. The road reverts back to normal A road status as it winds gently down towards Newton-le-Willows, with the speed limit increasing to 40mph as it heads into open countryside.
There is a staggered crossroads with the A573, the point where the road crosses out of Wigan Borough and into St Helens. The West Coast Mainline crosses underneath just before the junction, and the M6 passes overhead just afterwards. The road now reverts back to 30mph as the area becomes built-up once again. Once the road is in Newton village, it meets the A49 outside Newton Station.
At this point, there is a multiplex about half a mile long, using the A49 heading north through the shopping area of the village. At a mini-roundabout, we gain the A572 back, still heading westerly in a straight line over the top of Earlestown. There's othing much here, apart from a few small sets of traffic lights for local estate traffic. The road then curves into a south westerly direction, heading into a rural section. Here the road becomes 50mph, and flirts a little with the Warrington / St Helens boundary, before curving north westerly and heading into St Helens itself (back to 30mph after a couple of miles). The road then meets a rather over-sized roundabout, where a couple of local roads head off to the south. The road snakes a little, winding its way through Parr, where it meets with 3 or 4 sets of traffic lights at local roads once again. It then meets with the A58 at a large T-junction set of traffic lights, where it meets its end.
1935 proposed changes
In 1935 it was proposed that, due to the opening of the parallel East Lancs Road that the A572 would be renumbered. The part from St Helens to Leigh would remain and then the entire A579 would become part of the A572, making a St Helens to Bolton route. The section of A572 from Leigh to Boothstown would be renumbered A578; from Boothstown to the A575, A577; and from the A575 to the A6; A5104. This renumbering didn't occur.