|Location Map ( geo)|
|Via:||Bolton, Atherton, Leigh, Lowton|
|Distance:||14.2 miles (22.9 km)|
|Meets:||A58, B6208, A673, B6209, A666, A575, B6536, A676, B6202, A6145, B6199, A6, A577, B5235, A578, A572, A580, A572, M6, A49|
|Old route now:||B5215|
|Route outline (key)|
The route, which starts out as a simple urban primary route, begins at a traffic-light controlled TOTSO; this is because this part of the A579 was originally part of the A58 until it was rerouted via Crompton Way back in the 1930s.
Its climb into Bolton itself takes a typical Boltonian format: 30 mph, lots of traffic islands and long stretches of centre hatching. It tracks uphill through the suburb of Tonge Fold in this style, before making a sudden swing to the left as it TOTSOs at a set of traffic lights where the A673 terminates. It continues its gradual climb into Bolton before reaching a summit at the large A666 diamond interchange.
It then splits into a one way system (the westbound carriageway is marked as A6058 on some maps), and dog-legs a little before heading onto the urban relief route of Trinity Way which passes Bolton Interchange. This is a D2 route but is littered with traffic lights meaning it has to retain its 30 mph limit.
At the far end of Trinity Way is Bolton University, where there are more traffic signals on either side, allowing the A676 to spur off northwards, and the B6202 makes its southerly entrance. It is at the A676 where the A579 loses its primary status for its only non-primary stint.
The A579 then resumes its S2 status, beginning another uphill climb through the very diverse neighbourhood of Daubhill. The wide nature of the road, typical of many of Bolton's radial routes, has allowed for the installation of intermittent bus lanes (intermittent as they periodically switch sides).
At the far end of Daubill, the road reaches its summit where it meets the A6145 at yet another set of traffic signals. Shortly after, the road gains a 40 mph limit and heads down to Over Hulton where it goes over the M61 with no junction (possibly explaining why the road is non-primary) and meets the A6.
At the A6, the A579 regains its primary status, which it now keeps until its terminus. The road retains its wide status; however it manages to keep its 40 mph limit despite more hatching and traffic islands and a northbound bus lane. From here, it makes the long climb downhill to the Wigan Borough boundary. At this point the speed limit reduces to 30 mph and makes a stark and sudden change in width.
Becoming much more typical in width, the A579 enters Atherton, crossing the Atherton Line railway over a bridge that was replaced in late 2011 due to structural defects. It continues down to the town centre, where it joins a short multiplex along the A577.
At this point, the A579 follows the almost-straight course of a former railway line. This fast (50 mph) limit road, called Atherleigh Way, opened in 1985, the former route to Leigh (which marked the original end of the A579) becoming the B5215. The road crosses the B5235 before entering Leigh itself; at this point the speed limit drops to 40 mph due to the more urban nature of the route.
After passing through two sets of traffic lights and going past an ASDA store, the road used to slam into Parsonage roundabout, so-called after the adjacent retail park. Known locally as "Kamikaze Corner", the roundabout was very small despite having five arms, and became very congested during peak and shopping times. Its small radius and high throughput means that motorists frequently sped out of the exits, hence the name. It is therefore not surprising that the roundabout has now been replaced with a signalised junction, with the access to the retail park moved closer to the ASDA junction.
From here, the road climbs over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Originally the road regained its 50 mph limit but this was moved due to the opening of the Leigh Sports Village. This facility, requiring the construction of a new roundabout, opened in 2008 was one of the venues of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. The roundabout was enlarged in late 2011 due to the opening of an adjacent supermarket.
The road continues southwards, curving slightly with an unusual camber which would allow traffic to retain its speed, although the effect was lost when the speed limit was reduced.
It then meets the A572, where Atherleigh Way originally terminated. A southerly extension down to the A580 opened in 1992, and is where the road regains its 50 mph limit. At the A580, the A579 then multiplexes (losing its identity) with the former trunk route, before switching to the A572 for a short trundle through Lowton.
Beyond Lowton, the A579 reappears at a signalised junction. Following a rather narrow lane (formerly unclassified!), the A579 is NSL but traffic rarely manages to reach 50 mph. HGVs are signposted away from this route, with signage directing traffic between Leigh and the M6 via Junction 23. The route twists its way south-westwards, dissecting the huge Kenyon Hall Farm (great for fruit picking!), after which the road suddenly drops to 40 mph due to passing a small but busy quarry. Immediately after this the road reaches the M6 at Junction 22, where the road terminates. The road ahead, into Winwick itself, is a spur of the A49.