|Location Map ( geo)
|Forward Destination on
|A579 • A580
|Next Primary Destinations
|Bolton • St Helens • Manchester • Warrington • Wigan
|Places related to the A579
|Places related to the A580
Traditionally situated in Lancashire, the town is typical of the region in being dominated by the mining and cotton manufacturing. It is also famous for being the home of the Lancashire Cheese, with the 19th century "Leigh Toaster" variety reputed to be the best toasting cheese available.
Most of Leigh's transport history centres on its railway network. The town became the terminus for Lancashire's first public (as opposed to passenger) railway, the line to Bolton opening in 1825. This was five years before the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened to the south of the town, although passenger services only started in 1831. However, following the Beeching cuts, Leigh is now one of the largest towns in the UK without a railway service.
Leigh is home to the terminus end of the Bridgewater Canal, which was extended westwards from Worsley in 1795 in order to supply Manchester with coal from the area's mines.
The original road numbering forms the basis of what is seen today. The 1922 road numbering established the A572 as the main cross-town route from Salford to St. Helens, the only difference when compared to today being that it ran down Bradshawgate and King Street. The other roads that were numbered were the A578 towards Wigan and the A579 towards Bolton via Leigh Road. The A574 ran south towards Warrington from the A572 at Butts Bridge, a mile to the east of the town centre.
The first major change occurred to the south of the town, when the A580 East Lancashire Road opened in 1934. This was built as an S3 road, later upgraded to D2 in around the early 1960s. The opening of this road almost saw a major renumbering of roads in Leigh, as a pair of changes were planned with the 1935 numbering revision. It was proposed that the A572 would no longer turn at Leigh towards Salford, but instead have continued along the A579 to Bolton with the A578 taking over the A572 as far as Boothstown. However, none of the renumbering happened.
In around 1965, Bradshawgate was made one-way along with the parallel adjacent Lord Street. The A572 was amended to cover this partial rerouting.
1985 saw a new bypass open to the west of the town centre. Running from the A572 at Pennington to the A577 in Atherton, the S2 Atherleigh Way was built along the line of a former railway line. The road became part of the A579, with the original route along Leigh Road becoming the B5215. Atherleigh Way was extended down to the A580 in c.1990.
1992 saw a rejigging of roads as part of the town centre redevelopment which also saw a new market, shopping centre and bus station built. A relief road opened, Spinning Jenny Way, to take through traffic away from the shopping area. The A572 was diverted along the new road, with the B5215 being extended down to the new road. Lord Street was numbered as a spur of the B5215, although initial plans were to number it B5255.
|Warrington is reached via A49
|Also signed for Wigan (A577)
|Liverpool not signed until west of the M6
|Formerly signed for Manchester - now signed via A579/A574 onto A580 to keep traffic out of Astley
|Not signed from the town centre, in order to direct traffic via the A579
|Formerly signed for Wigan, but traffic now directed via primary A579/A577 route
Management of all roads within the town falls under the jurisdiction of the local authority, Wigan Metropolitan Borough. The only trunk road through the town was the A580, however that was detrunked in 2004.
Traffic signal management, however, is handled by Transport for Greater Manchester's Urban Traffic Control division.
Class III Roads
Although Wigan Council has a Class III tier of roads, the authority does not actively number them. They do form a useful network of local routes between the other classified routes:
|A572 to B5215
|Holden Road, The Avenue (southern end)
|A577 to B5215
|Westleigh Lane, Kirkhall Lane
|A578 to B5207
|Firs Lane, Plank Lane, Slag Lane (Lowton)
|A578 to B5215
|Findlay Street, Railway Road
|Town Centre local route
|Queen Street, Bradshawgate
|Town Centre North local route
|Church Street, Brown Street, Platt Street
|Westleigh local route
|Nel Pan Lane