|From:||East Ardsley (SE288260)|
|Distance:||5.2 miles (8.4 km)|
|Meets:||A650, A61, A639, A642|
|Route outline (key)|
The unassuming A654 is one of those roads that make you wonder why it got its own number. Some parts kind of make sense as an A road, but it's so short and inconsistent (and irrelevant) that it can only be through sheer apathy that it wasn't downgraded years ago.
East Ardsley - Oulton
The road begins in East Ardsley at a shabby set of traffic lights on the A650. It used to run along Thorpe Lane and start a short distance to the west in Tingley just to the east of the roundabout at M62 J28 but this road was severed by the building of the M62 and its junction with the A650, so the road has been moved.
It heads north across some nondescript open ground, crossing the M62 and turning to head east. There is a brief flurry of excitement as a turning to the left carries traffic to Middleton and Belle Isle. Along here the road is NSL, though it's not easy to reach 60mph on an often narrow and poorly aligned road.
After another mile or so, the road bends sharply right, and there is a turning to the left just afterwards. Though there is nothing to say so, continuing ahead will land you on the B6135, and a smart left is required here to stay on track.
The road then drops steeply away to pass under the ten-lane M1 - from the height at which we approach, we could easily pass above it. It rises briefly at the other side, then meets the A61 at some more traffic lights, which have some ugly non-standard signs strapped to them. Beyond the A61, we have more traffic, and are in the small built-up area called Robin Hood.
After a while the houses are only on one side of the road, and we continue with a 40mph limit now along rows of terraces, over a small bridge, and into Rothwell and a 30mph limit. We pass close to the town centre, through some sets of traffic lights and past some minor civic buildings and parades of shops. Another mile or so onwards, NSL is resumed as we turn sharply right to follow the edge of a park. A broad right hand curve takes us past the gates to the stately Oulton Park hotel, and to the roundabout with the A639 and A642, where the road gives up. We have travelled a grand total of about five miles.
Original Author(s): Chris Marshall