|Length:||81.4 miles (131 km)|
|Meets:||A57, M57, A570, A580, M6, A49, A577, A6, M61, A666, A56, M66, A6033, A646, M62, M606, A58(M), A64(M), A61, A168|
|Route outline (key)|
The A58 was one of the several major transpennine crossings in the pre-motorway era, and even today is a major artery connecting several large towns in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Prescot to Sowerby Bridge
The A58 starts at Prescot, in the Liverpool suburbs, at the junction of the M57 and the A57 (another transpennine route that runs further south to Sheffield), and immediately takes over the primary status from here up the Prescot Bypass alongside the southern edge of Knowsley Safari Park. The dual carriageway is short lived, however, as a roundabout returns traffic onto the original road towards St Helens where traffic is once again directed onto a dual carriageway in the form of the St Helens Linkway, which was a late addition to the area as it only opened in the 1990s. The A570 takes priority on signs through this section before the A58 is resumed and heads east up a brand new bypass at Stanley Bank to meet the East Lancashire Road (A580) at a set of signals.
Continuing north east through to Ashton in Makerfield, the A58 loses primary status when it meets the M6, with access to and from the north only - to go south requires using junctions either side of this one. From here it is an semi-urban crawl around the south side of Wigan passing through Bryn Gates, Platt Bridge, and eventually Hindley where primary status is regained at the A577. The next stop is Westhoughton - where access to the M61 is gained via an unfinished dual carriageway (Syndale Way). The aborted grade-separated junction was to have allowed access to the A579 Atherleigh Way but this was never realised. Beyond the M61 at Hunger Hill the road is directed off to the left (the original route continued ahead through the centre of Bolton) onto the 1920s Beaumont Road - which until 2004 was a ridiculously wide single carriageway that had infamously retained a cobbled surface well into the early 1980s. Today it is a 50 mph dual carriageway with signals and lane drops in irritating places. This section then takes traffic across the A673 Chorley New Road up onto the remainder of the Bolton 'ring road' (as ever with Lancashire, it's only half a ring). This bit is all 40 mph except at junctions and is a mixture of single and dual carriageway (albeit only with one lane). Eventually the A666 is crossed at the Pineapple crossroads.
Crossing over here brings the road into the four lane single carriageway Crompton Way with houses either side - the 40 mph limit remains for now - but further along it has been reduced to just two lanes. Eventually the original route east is reached - the A579 taking the baton to the west. The Bury and Bolton Road is very fast despite the low speed limits and has had numerous features to reduce traffic speeds implemented. Before long, the road enters yet more urban crawls in Bury. There is a 1970s inner relief road here so passage is somewhat easier than it could otherwise be. Once through Bury the road crosses yet another motorway - this one the M66, and climbs up towards Heywood where an awkward one way system circulates through the town centre. There is brief respite from urban slogs before Rochdale - and traffic from the A627(M) joins at a new signalised crossroads that was originally a roundabout. There is now a fast urban dual carriageway right into the outskirts of the town centre where a second converted roundabout at Townhead terminates this relief road and deposits traffic back onto the original road. At the junction with the A664 the dual carriageway resumes with suggests at some point a proposal to link the two existed. This bit of dual carriageway is very short lived however.
The next section of the A58 in Littleborough is unusual. The primary status it has enjoyed since Hindley is lost to the A6033, which itself loses it at the Calderdale/Rochdale boundary. Presumably an administrative error brought about this anomaly, as it suggests the small village of Walsden is a terminating point for the primary route network...
Carrying on, there is a sudden and steep climb up Blackstone Edge into West Yorkshire at the junction with the B6138 to Mytholmroyd. This section of road is startlingly fast but its rural nature is somewhat undermined by the parallel national grid transmission lines that sweep overhead. The road begins to drop back down into Ripponden, collecting the A672 as it does, and sending traffic to Elland along the B6113 at the same time. This junction is, in winter, usually the last point at which traffic can turn around before hitting snow closures. The section through Kebroyd and Triangle is busy owing to the bottleneck at Sowerby Bridge ahead where the road has to dogleg across the River Calder under the Caldervale Railway Line whilst climbing up towards Halifax. At the top of this hill the road fork: to the left is the A58, to the right is the A6026 to Copley, Elland, and the A629.
Sowerby Bridge to Wetherby
Immediately beyond the A6026, the A58 splits again, traffic northbound is directed to the left, whereas southbound traffic arrives from the road to the right. Either way brings traffic back to the same point but be expected to Give Way at the top of the right hand branch. Once back here the road widens out to dual carriageway and until 2006 had a 40 limit. The next (and it is complex!) junction is at King Cross where the A646 crosses - traffic into town is directed down the 1970s Aachen Way and then down a very wide urban street before meeting the magnificent Burdock Way. This 40 mph dual carriageway is rarely jammed solid and is an excellent relief for the town centre. It meets the A629 at Orange Street Roundabout before passing over the Dean Clough mill complex to the New Bank Gyratory, sprouting the A647 which it will meet again later. Another climb then follows before a steep drop through the Godley cutting to Stump Cross.
Here the A6036 sets off for Bradford whilst the A58 continues towards Hipperholme meeting the A644 and A649 at signals in the village centre. From here it runs in a nearly straight line with a few deceptive bends as Whitehall Road (and it retains this name all the way into Leeds). After this the road enters Wyke, but not before passing underneath the famous Wyke Viaduct, a 22-span arch viaduct which was Grade II listed but suffered from subsidence. As a result the damaged arches were demolished by explosives in 1987, leaving the unique and bizarre sight of a half-viaduct crossing the road. Once in Wyke the A58 shares a junction with the A641. The crawler lane uphill here was removed in December 2009. In the southern areas of Bradford the road remains semi-urban before gaining National Speed Limit and dropping down to the M62 at Junction 26, Chain Bar. There is also access to the M606 and A638 here, but the primary status of the A58 is lost.
Beyond Chain Bar the A58 is a local road but still very busy. It passes through more semi-urban areas and crosses the A651, A650 and eventually meets the A6110 Leeds Outer Ring Road. The next bit of road is a bit rubbish as an A-road but manages to have a 40 mph speed limit nearly all the way throughout. Eventually it does connect into the A643 Ingham Distributor (part of the Inner Ring Road), but Whitehall Road continues beyond the junction as an unclassified road. At the Armley Gyratory, the A647 rejoins the route before crossing the River Aire onto the motorway section of the Inner Ring Road. This 40 mph motorway opened in the 1960s and is of huge benefit to the city centre. The original route of the A58 went along Whitehall Road and Boar Lane before multiplexing along the A61 along Briggate and North Street. Traffic for the A58 is directed off the motorway at Clay Pit Lane and sent down to the giant Sheepscar Interchange with the A61. There follows a low quality section of the road here before picking up a dual carriageway.
This dual carriageway sends traffic to the A6120 Leeds Outer Ring Road. From here the A58 becomes rural and probably should be downgraded as the A64 and recent A1(M) takes the traffic. It features several sharp bends and is not the greatest of radials from any city but it does just about do the job. The road ends to the south of Wetherby town centre on the old Great North Road. However, when the A1 bypass was upgraded to motorway in 2008 the terminus roundabout was not given access to the A1(M). As such, traffic has to either dogleg south to Boston Spa (J45) - although taking the A659 would have been quicker than diverting via Wetherby - or go north along the A168 to J46.
Apart from the bypasses and urban reroutings mentioned in the text above, the A58 still runs more-or-less on its original 1922 route.