|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||16.5 miles (26.6 km)|
|Meets:||A59, A5071, A5072, A5085, A584, A585, M55, A5230, A587, A586|
|Old route now:||A5072, A5085, B5192|
|Route outline (key)|
The A583 is the original route to the Fylde coast from Preston, and despite its effective replacement by the M55 in 1974, it remains a very busy corridor. It once was one of the few rural four lane single carriageways in Great Britain, but the bulk of the road is now a simple two lane affair.
Section 1: Preston - Peel Hill
Leaving Preston city centre, at a restricted movements junction with the A59 (most traffic is actually directed along Corporation Street (the A5071), the A583 is better known as Friargate and is one of shopping streets that was severed from the 'proper' centre of Preston by the construction of Ringway. Before too long a large roundabout/signal hybrid junction is encountered outside of the University of Central Lancashire. A further nondescript length of urban road, including a narrow bridge under the West Coast Mainline, brings traffic to the start of the Ashton Bypass.
The dual carriageway allows access to the 1980s developments along the former Preston docklands, and the industrial past of the area is largely forgotten save for a few strategic artwork pieces dotted around. The main landmark for drivers are the vast number of pylons as a major National Grid substation is to the south of the River Ribble and some extremely tall structures were needed to allow shipping to pass under the transmission cables. Underneath this spaghetti of steel, the carriageways split apart and the Ashton Bypass ends, with traffic from the A5085 having priority. A short length of dual carriageway follows before the A584 splits off towards Lytham St Annes. This is one of the many former sections of four lane single carriageway that were narrowed to two lanes for safety reasons. This area is proposed to change massively as a new dual carriageway is planned to depart from here, in order to take traffic to the M55, at the missing Junction 2, whilst enabling thousands of new homes to be built.
Most of the road ahead was improved in the interwar years to enable motorists to get to Blackpool quicker, it therefore follows a typical alignment of the time with sharp turns and long straights. With the exception of small hamlets like Newton-le-Scales, the road avoids urban areas and passes through numerous signal controlled junctions before reaching the Kirkham Bypass. Most traffic is directed to the M55 along the A585, but those in the know can continue ahead and reach the terminal junction of the motorway, but not before passing the controversial 'fracking' protest site and a large retail park at Peel.
Section 2: Peel Hill - Blackpool Sea Front
After arriving at the terminal junction of the M55, the road takes on the character of an interwar dual carriageway with a mix of residential and commercial properties lining it. Prior to Yeadon Way in 1986, and the Squires Gate Link Road (A5230) a decade later, this was the only way into the town for driving holidaymakers and it was incredibly busy.
Further in at the A587/A5073 junction, which is controlled by traffic lights, the road loses primary status. There is not a great deal of interest to a driver along the next section, although there is a left turn at a signal junction that can catch unwary travellers out! The final section of the A583 has been modified beyond recognition in recent years as part of a drive to regenerate the dilapidated areas around Blackpool North Station. The old one way system is mostly gone, with a series of shared spaces and pedestrian friendly streets in its place.
The A586 takes over the final leg to the sea front.
Prior to 1906 the main route between Blackpool and Preston was the Freckleton Marsh toll road and the long way round via Lytham. At the turn of the century Lancashire County Council planned to upgrade the route via Kirkham which would shorten the distance between the towns to 17.75 miles and provide a better road for motor vehicles, cyclists and other users. The toll bar at Lea Gate was abolished on 28 July 1902. The work took 3 years and cost close upon £30,000. The route was officially opened on 19 November 1906 by Sir William Hulton, Chairman of the Main roads and Bridges Committee of the County Council who said it was the largest road improvement project undertaken by the County Council. It was an improvement of the old road plus some new sections, most notably to the west of Clifton. At the ceremony it was described as nearing completion. It was numbered A583 in 1922-23.