|Distance:||4.3 miles (6.9 km)|
|Meets:||A596, B5297, B5296, A595, B5306|
|Former Number(s):||B5296, B5298|
|Old route now:||B5297, A66|
|Route outline (key)|
Workington - Distington
The current route of the A597 starts at on the A596 at the New Bridge roundabout at North Side on the outskirts of Workington. It crosses over the Derwent estuary via the Northside Bridge into Workington proper, passing the football and rugby league grounds. The road passes the Railway Station, where there is a gyratory, and the Corus (formerly British Steel) Steel Works. The road name is as Falcon Street, Solway Road, Mossbay Road and Salterbeck Road. At Harrington the road turns east to go inland. It goes along the edge of Grayson Green and High Harrington to meet the A595 at the Lillyhall Industrial Estate near Distington. The next roundabout to the left is the junction of the A596 and A595.
So, from once being a small but important part of the main route from West Cumberland to the outside world the A597 has gone to being an urban road connecting various industrial and residential areas.
P.S. I forgot to mention that the A597 has taken over the routes of two 'B' roads - the section from North Side to Mossbay Road was formerly the now-defunct B5298 and from here to Distington the road was numbered the B5296, which now survives as the connecting road from the A597 through Mossbay and along Harrington Road to the A596 at Guard Street.
The A597 is one road that seems to have had an interesting life over the past 40 years. From classification in 1922 until 1968, it was the road from Workington Bridge station to Bridgefoot on the A595; in that year the section from Workington town centre to Bridgefoot was reclassified as the A66, leaving only the one mile stretch from Workington town centre to the railway station as A597.
Then in 1988, a by pass around west Workington was built and this took the name A597. The new road was only part of the extended route, however. The A597 took over the B5298 across the River Derwent and to the south the road was numbered the B5296, which now survives as the connecting road from the A597 through Mossbay and along Harrington Road to the A596 at Guard Street. At a similar time, the remainder of the original A597, Station Road in Workington, was downgraded to become the B5297.
Northside Bridge collapsed during heavy flooding in 2009 but had been rebuilt by 2012. A temporary bridge was constructed just upstream of the old bridge connecting the roundabout by Borough Park to a mini-roundabout on the A596. Following the reopening of the rebuilt bridge, the temporary bridge was removed.