|From:||Great Sankey (SJ586881)|
|Distance:||15.8 miles (25.4 km)|
|Meets:||A57, A49, A50, B5210, M62, B5207, B5212, A580, A572|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Great Sankey – Hulme
The road starts off on the A57 on the western edge of Warrington and proceeds in a northerly direction before curving to the east to meet the A49. Named Cromwell Avenue, this section of the route constitutes a sort of north-westerly bypass of Warrington, whilst also providing easy access to the Gulliver's World theme park and the Gemini Retail Park (chaos at Christmas, owing to its being the site of an IKEA storre). Between the A57 and A49 there are nine roundabouts, the first six being for local estate traffic whilst the three closest to the A49 are for the retail park and a business park. The junction with the A57, by contrast, is a signalized crossroads, while the A49 junction is a light-controlled roundabout.
At this point the A574 disappears temporarily, and to continue we must turn right and follow the southbound A49 for a little under half a mile, then the eastbound A50 for just over a mile through Orford to reach the point where the A574 resumes at a tight signalized left turn (into Birchwood Way) at the west end of Padgate.
Section 2: Padgate – Leigh
Birchwood Way, a road with no direct frontages, takes us in a north-easterly direction. We cross two roundabouts, the first one for local traffic and the second a junction with the the B5210 – which provides a short cut down to the M6 at J21). The road duals for about half a mile, where it comes to an elongated roundabout which is an incomplete GSJ. Left and ahead are both the A574, with the road ahead being a spur of over a mile ending at M62 J11.
The mainline of the A574 TOTSOs left and then curves easterly again (also with numerous roundabouts, three on this section), and TOTSOs again at the fourth to go over the M62. Here the road proceeds north, past Risley prison and into Culcheth, where the speed limit drops back to 30 mph. Passing through this village, there are two mini roundabouts either side of the high school; the first is for the B5207 heading up to Lowton, the second is for the B5212 down to Glazebrook.
The road quickly heads up into Glazebury, passing under the Manchester–Liverpool railway, where George Stephenson ran his famous Rocket locomotive, and then past the massive Bents Garden Centre. The road meets with the A580 at the Greyhound Roundabout (named after the motel on the corner), before crossing over and heading up to Leigh, where it terminates at the A572 in the same way as it starts!