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East Lancashire Road
From:  Liverpool (SJ352930)
To:  Salford (SD797003)
Distance:  33.8 miles (54.4 km)
Meets:  A57, B5186, A5048, A5047, A5049, A5050, A5089, A5058, B5187, A59, M57, B5194, A5207, A5208, B5202, B5203, A570, A571, A58, M6, A49, A573, A572, A579, A574, A577, B5232, A575, M60, M61, A5185, A6, A666, B5228
Former Number(s):  B5187
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Knowsley • Liverpool • St Helens • Salford • Wigan

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A580 Kirkdale – Fazakerley
A580 Liverpool – Everton
A580 Everton – Fazakerley
A580 Fazakerley – Pendlebury
This article is about the current A580, the East Lancashire Road.
For the original A580, which ran between Wigan and Chorley, see A580 (Boars Head - Duxbury Hall)


Opened in 1934, the A580 Liverpool to East Lancashire Road (always referred to as the East Lancs Road) was one of the biggest pre-motorway road projects in Britain, rivalled by the London arterial roads and the A4123 in the West Midlands. It was intended to provide a new, high-quality trunk road (until it was removed from the trunk road network on 1 April 2004) between Liverpool and Manchester, primarily superseding the indirect and heavily built-up A57 through Prescot, Warrington and Eccles. Its main purpose was to speed the flow of goods between the factories of East Lancashire and the Liverpool docks. However, its usefulness was undermined by the fact that it never fully connected to either Manchester city centre, or Liverpool docks - indeed it could be described to just 'dissolve' into dense urban areas at either end, although later road improvement projects rectified this somewhat.

An earlier plan for a new road from Liverpool to Salford was numbered A563. Although this would have had a similar, if not identical, route, the A580 has always had that number.

Today's A580 is mainly a commuter corridor; it is quite a slog with no remaining sections subject to National Speed Limit, numerous at-grade junctions controlled by signals, and a few roundabouts which can become congested very easily. The road was rapidly overwhelmed by this; it had to be dualled throughout the 1950s and 1960s but it wasn't enough, and in 1974, the M62 officially took over its function as the link between Manchester and Liverpool.

As an added minor irritant for a road number purist, the Liverpool end has two branches. This is partly an accident of history as explained below.

Liverpool: Northern Branch

Walton Hall Avenue

The northern branch is today the main one, being primary and connecting directly to the A59 a short distance north of the Mersey Kingsway Tunnel. However, this was not the original case! This branch only fully came into being because of the new tunnel, which is why it follows such a clumsy series of city streets weaving past Everton's stadium and the west side of Stanley Park. This route was originally unclassified, but once it crosses Queens Drive, the A580 proper began - with dual three lanes and a 40 mph speed limit (when such things were introduced in the 1950s). It is at this point a stereotypical Liverpudlian suburban dual carriageway in the John Brodie mould.

Liverpool: Southern Branch

The southern, original branch is also formed mostly of city streets, starting on the A57 at Islington - which was the direct access to and from the Mersey Queensway Tunnel in 1934 - heading north before turning right onto Breck Road and heading through Anfield before crossing Queens Drive and becoming Townsend Lane. Before long the typical Brodie suburban dual carriageway effect kicks in here. Townsend Avenue heads in a relatively straight line north eastwards before it meets the northern branch just south of Fazakerley. This branch, being the lesser of the two in importance today is non-primary.

Fazakerley to Kirkby

Walton Hall Avenue becomes the East Lancashire Road and begins its run across the South Lancashire Plain towards Manchester in earnest. Passing through Gillmoss there are commercial units lining much of the northern side of the road giving away its historical importance. As soon as the road crosses the City of Liverpool boundary a fork junction provides access to the M57 at Junction 4. Junction 5, once a temporary terminus of the M57, provides a freeflow movement to and from Manchester - this movement being crucial for traffic accessing the docks prior to the link towards the M62 being finished. Rather oddly, the next at-grade junction with dual carriageway A5207 to the former Kirkby Industrial Estate (now Knowlsley Industrial Park) allows right turns back to the motorway and also the B5194. Historically, pre M57, this junction was a simple roundabout.

Kirkby – Haydock

Junction of the A580 and M6 at Haydock Island

The next junction reached is the eastern access to Kirkby and the sprawling industrial park. This is another former roundabout that is now signals. An odd signage feature here is that should the signals fail, the advance warning signs have folding panels that can be revealed to show that the signals have failed. Rapidly following is the junction with the B5202 but only for westbound traffic! Eastbound this junction is relatively unremarkable for a local lane. A rural blast (now a mixture of 50 and 60 limits) apply before the B5203 is reached at a new, and very tightly aligned, roundabout. The southern section of the B5203 is still reached by an at-grade right turn.

The next junction is major, and was extensively rebuilt in 2019 to provide wider stacking space for turning traffic. The A570 connects St Helens with the M58 on a relatively well preserved 1950s Lancashire dual carriageway complete with cycle tracks and wide central reservation. The A580 continues underneath the concrete Abbey Road bridge, which is one of the most distinctive features on this section of the road. Another Left In-Left Out LILO junction is passed, the missing across movement created by re-using the line of the abandoned St Helens to Ormskirk railway (an extension of the existing Scafell Road to the south), before another signal junction - this time with the A571 allows access to St Helens again. It could have been entirely feasible to eliminate this signal junction using the aforementioned semi-GSJ but for whatever reason that was never done. The next signals are reached very quickly and this allows access to the rest of the A571 towards Billinge and Wigan.

Another featureless section brings traffic to the revised Pewfall junction with the A58. Stanley Bank Way is a mid-2000s road bypassing Blackbrook. The A58 to the north cuts the corner to the M6 towards Preston and is regularly congested as a result.

The next junction now serves a large distribution warehouse and has had to be significantly modified to accommodate it. This has not helped the traffic problems the A580 has to put up with, but its close proximity to the M6 has made it a popular location for distribution warehouses!

Piele passes under the road, much like Scafell Road did earlier, as a converted railway line (this one being the former LNER St Helens Branch from Lowton Common) to allow another pair of LILOs to exist. This junction forms a rather convoluted link to the A599 which has always passed underneath the A580. Immediately beyond this bridge the M6 comes into view at Haydock Island - built originally as a simple two bridge roundabout but converted to the UK's first 'Hamburger Roundabout' in the late 1960s. It has been tinkered with ever since in a desperate attempt to keep it moving. Since the A580 lost trunk status any hopes of an underpass for it are long gone, which means that A49 traffic also entering the melee will be stuck in jams for the long term.

Haydock - Astley

Approaching the A574 roundabout

Continuing from the M6, the A580 enters Wigan's borough boundaries and meets the A573 at a roundabout - it is worth noting the insignificant Newton Lane junction prior to this also used to be a roundabout. Golborne Island is one of two surviving original roundabouts, the second we will cross not too far along.

Stone Cross Lane North was massively rerouted in 1998 to provide access to a new industrial area. This junction was placed slightly to the west of the existing ex-roundabout at Stone Cross Lane South, which is now part of the same traffic signal complex. Barely a few hundred yards beyond the heavily skewed Heath Lane junction is now limited movements with the northern side stopped up given the existence of the Stone Cross Lane complex.

At Lane Head, another ex-roundabout is now a double traffic signal complex which allows the B5207 and A572 to cross over. Clearing this suburban junction the A579 arrives having swallowed up the branch to Bolton from the original Liverpool to Manchester line opened in 1830. The A580 and its surrounding roads have a strange relationship with the early industrial era railways and this is one of the biggest examples.

It is worth pointing out that although the environment around here is rural, it is unfortunately a very flat and unappealing stretch of countryside. To the north, the forest of mill chimneys in the town of Leigh used to be a famous sight, but nearly all of them have now been demolished. The A580 encounters its second and last roundabout at Lately Common, where it crosses the A574. There follows one of its longest stretches without a junction, roughly paralleling the more twisty A572 to the north. The A580 runs in a relatively straight line all the way to Astley, which is the location of a strange 'jug-handle' type junction.

Astley – Salford

Swinton, before the V1/V2 Bus Corridor scheme

Approaching Astley, the A580 enters a more built-up environment and the speed limit drops to 40 mph – it was originally 60 mph from this point, but following a number of fatal collisions involving young pedestrians, the limit was reduced firstly to 50, and when this had little effect, to 40 following pressure from residents. There are still minimal pedestrian facilities at the numerous junctions along this stretch despite several being extensively rebuilt as part of the V1/V2 Bus Corridor project, which has replaced the Leigh to Ellenbrook length of the Tyldesley loop railway with a Guided Busway. The A580 simply got painted bus lanes, which is not as interesting.

The A577 crosses here, at a nondescript crossroads, before the B5232 at Ellenbrook joins from the north - Newearth Road being a new road opened in the late 1990s. The next junction is the massively busy A575 junction as this is the only way to reach the anti-clockwise M60 from here due to the limited movements at the Swinton Interchange complex, which only allows access to the M60 clockwise if travelling eastbound, and the M61 if travelling westbound. The effort required to build this junction was considerable - the A580 had to be lowered by several metres and the retaining walls give an indication of the amount of work required. Now inside the M60, the A580 is on the final stretch and becomes very built up. Moorside Road is a busy crossroads, but the real traffic jam hotspot is the A572 junction, partly because the B5231 joins the fun and has far too many conflicting turn movements and not enough signal time to process it all. Unfortunately even the V1/V2 buses get caught up in this mess and the junction poses a major headache for everyone.

The last run is through Swinton Park before the A6 takes over at Irlams o'th'Height, which started off life as a conventional at-grade junction but was massively rebuilt in 1971 to become a roundabout interchange. At this point the road is merely 3.5 miles from Manchester city centre.


The southern branch in Liverpool using Townsend Lane and Breck Road was originally numbered B5187.

Cutting boldly across the flat South Lancashire countryside, it was originally mostly a three-lane single carriageway road, although the sections within Liverpool were dual from the start. In the 1950s and 60s it was entirely remodelled into a dual carriageway, but retains entirely at-grade junctions, mainly signalised crossroads. However, its very straight alignment still has a distinctive 1930s flavour, and there are a few characteristic roadhouses of the period. Most of the original 1930s bridges – generally “railway style” steel ones – remain, as they were built to allow for later expansion.

As with other arterial roads, such as London's Eastern Avenue and the A2 at Gravesend, the road was mostly new-build but it used the alignments of pre-existing roads in a few places, such as the B5187 in Liverpool, and most of the B5202.

Although not a scenic or challenging road, the A580 remains an interesting drive for anyone interested in the history of Lancashire's road network.

External links

Eccles • Kirkby • Leigh • Liverpool • Salford • St Helens
Related Pictures
View gallery (32)
A580 Haydock Island - Coppermine - 1526.jpgA580 Haydock Island - Coppermine - 1522.jpgA599 Penny Lane, Haydock - Coppermine - 1548.jpgTraffic lights on Walton Hall Avenue - Geograph - 2780766.jpgJ23 Haydock Island - Coppermine - 1518.jpg
Other nearby roads
A41 • A57 • A59 • A506 • A526 • A561 • A562 • A563 (Liverpool - Salford) • A564 (Liverpool) • A565 • A566 • A567 • A5017 (Liverpool) • A5036 • A5037 • A5038 • A5039 • A5040 • A5041 • A5042 • A5043 • A5044 • A5045 • A5046 • A5047 • A5048 • A5049 • A5050 • A5051 • A5052 • A5053 • A5054 • A5055 • A5056 • A5058 • A5080 (Liverpool - Warrington) • A5089 • A5090 • A5097 • A5107 • A5275 • B5171 • B5172 (Liverpool) • B5173 • B5174 • B5175 • B5176 • B5177 • B5178 • B5179 • B5180 • B5181 (Liverpool) • B5182 • B5183 • B5184 • B5185 • B5186 • B5187 • B5188 • B5189 • B5192 (South Lancs) • B5317 (Liverpool) • B5339 • B5340 • B5342 • E20 • E33 (Northampton - Liverpool) • E109 (Old System) • Liverpool Inner Motorway • M52 • M53 • M57 • M58 • M59 • M62 • Northern and Western Motorway • T20 (Britain) • T21 (Britain) • T59 (Britain)
St Helens
A58 • A563 (Liverpool - Salford) • A568 • A569 • A570 • A571 • A572 • A599 • A5059 • B5201 • B5203 • B5204 • B5205 • B5207 (Billinge - Culcheth) • B5208 (Haydock) • B5209 • B5413 • B5419 • E109 (Old System) • T21 (Britain) • T62 (Britain)
A6 • A34 • A57 • A526 (Newcastle-under-Lyme - Salford) • A563 (Liverpool - Salford) • A572 • A575 • A576 • A665 • A666 • A5063 • A5064 (Salford) • A5065 (Salford) • A5066 • A5104 (Swinton - Worsley) • A5185 • A5186 • A6010 • A6041 • A6042 • A6044 • B5211 • B5221 • B5225 • B5226 • B5227 • B5228 • B5229 • B5230 • B5231 • B5232 • B5234 (Lancashire) • B5341 (Salford) • B5461 • B6181 • B6182 • B6183 • B6184 (Salford) • B6185 • B6186 • B6187 • City Centre Road • E20 • E22 • E109 (Old System) • M52 • M60 • M61 • M62 • M62 Relief Road • M64 (Eccles - Salford) • M601 • M602 • Manchester Inner Ring Road • T12 (Britain) • T21 (Britain)
A6 • A6(M) (Bredbury - Hazel Grove) • A34 • A56 • A57 • A57(M) • A62 • A526 (Newcastle-under-Lyme - Salford) • A555 • A560 • A576 • A635 • A635(M) • A662 • A663 • A664 • A665 • A5014 • A5067 • A5068 (Manchester) • A5079 • A5081 • A5103 • A5145 • A5184 • A5219 • A6010 • A6041 • A6042 • A6044 • A6103 (Manchester) • A6104 • A6143 • B529 • B5093 • B5095 • B5117 • B5166 • B5167 • B5168 • B5217 • B5218 • B5219 • B5220 • B5221 • B5222 (Manchester) • B5223 • B5224 • B5225 • B5290 (Wythenshawe - Moss Side) • B5317 (Manchester) • B5410 (Manchester) • B6167 • B6178 • B6179 (Manchester) • B6180 • B6181 • B6182 • B6185 • B6393 • B6410 (Lancashire) • B6469 • City Centre Road • E20 • E22 • E109 (Old System) • M52 • M56 • M60 • M60 (Knutsford - Manchester) • M61 • M62 • M62 Relief Road • M63 • M64 (Eccles - Salford) • M66 • M67 • M68 • M602 • Manchester Inner Ring Road • Northern and Western Motorway • Princess Parkway Motorway • RM7 • T12 (Britain) • T18 (Britain) • T21 (Britain) • T60 (Britain) • T61 (Britain)
A500 • A501 • A502 • A503 • A504 • A505 • A506 • A507 • A508 • A509 • A510 • A511 • A512 • A513 • A514 • A515 • A516 • A517 • A518 • A519
A520 • A521 • A522 • A523 • A524 • A525 • A526 • A527 • A528 • A529 • A530 • A531 • A532 • A533 • A534 • A535 • A536 • A537 • A538 • A539
A540 • A541 • A542 • A543 • A544 • A545 • A546 • A547 • A548 • A549 • A550 • A551 • A552 • A553 • A554 • A555 • A556 • A557 • A558 • A559
A560 • A561 • A562 • A563 • A564 • A565 • A566 • A567 • A568 • A569 • A570 • A571 • A572 • A573 • A574 • A575 • A576 • A577 • A578 • A579
A580 • A581 • A582 • A583 • A584 • A585 • A586 • A587 • A588 • A589 • A590 • A591 • A592 • A593 • A594(N) • A594(S) • A595 • A596 • A597 • A598 • A599
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways : A500 • A506 • A511(N) • A511(S) • A524 • A526 • A529 • A544 • A555(N) • A555(S) • A556(M) • A563 • A564 • A569 • A580 • A598

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