M57 - M58 - A59
Where is it?
M57 junction 7. The point where two major routes out of Liverpool cross over and meet the ring road.
Its layout has changed slightly since the aerial photographs were taken and the map was drawn — the M57 now cuts through the middle of what remains of the roundabout, meeting the dual carriageway A59 at a giant T-junction.
What's wrong with it?
This is a junction where five important (and insanely busy) roads all meet together and fight for space. It's quite simply overloaded on an unimaginable scale — there is probably no other flat traffic-light junction in the UK that caters for so many important roads.
It's the terminus of two three-lane motorways and three important dual carriageways, and all five of them dump every single vehicle onto the same mauled, disfigured roundabout. To make things that bit more interesting, there's also a dual carriageway across the centre of the roundabout, a T-junction in the middle where it meets the M57, and some links are broken, the whole tangle being orchestrated by a carousel of traffic lights.
The westernmost loop is now an inspection area for Customs and Excise, Police and the Highways Agency, and is no longer a functioning part of the junction.
Why is it wrong?
It's taking more traffic than it was ever meant to, and not only because traffic levels have been rising since it was built. This was not meant to be the end-point of the M57 or M58, which should have taken lots of traffic straight over the top. It's known for certain that the M57 should have gone straight on to end somewhere near Formby, or perhaps even Southport, completing an outer ring road for Liverpool. This is evidenced by the wide flare to the M57's carriageways where the motorway should have continued. The M58's carriageways do the same, with a proposed but now abandoned route heading towards Liverpool alongside the railway.
Adding to the mess is the addition of the road across the middle, which was originally intended to be a flyover to make things go more smoothly but which was actually built on the same level as the rest of things, so now traffic goes across the roundabout as well as round it, hitting yet more traffic lights where the various streams bang into each other.
What would be better?
I don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest that we evacuate Liverpool to make sure that nobody has to suffer the life-changing hardship that this junction causes. That would be a bit expensive though, and some people say an overreaction. What do they know?
In fact it's pretty hard to see what could realistically be done to make things any better. What would help would be to raise the A5036 over on an actual, real flyover and continue it onto the A59/M58, with sliproads dropping down onto the roundabout from there. The view of that flyover at sunset, with flocks of pigs soaring overhead, would be a sight to behold.
Right to reply
Hate this junction? Or do you think it hasn't had a fair trial? Make yourself heard! Post a comment.
These are the most recent comments on this junction. You can see all comments if you prefer.
Carl Spurling gets stuck every day:
I use this junction practically daily, it has always been awful, but just at the moment it really is exceeding itself. All the tinkering over the years with Switch Island has not really helped, major money needs spending here to cope with traffic flows.
How DARE anybody suggest a flyover at Switch Island? Do you have any vague concept of what the locals of this area have lost? Switch Island used to be a green, tree covered island, with extensive rural surroundings. We have lost so much beauty from this area that it is too much to bear. We have suffered extensive house building with resulting loss of the most beautiful first class agricultural land, two motorways, and two of the most ridiculous, unnecessary, and useless roads (Northern Perimeter and Broom's Cross) in the history of mankind. Do you not think this is more than enough without the addition of an ugly flyover?
Nik is all set for a drive:
The 3-mile Thornton by-pass link has now been added to the scrum. Forty-some years in the planning, nine months late due to weather and 'bad ground'...
We hope to take a look tomorrow.
Fredsie has news:
It's worth noting that, on top of all you've said, a new road is being added at the junction - the Thornton bypass, due to complete in December 2014.
I had the great pleasure of using this junction on the day one of the "improvements" had been opened.
I'm not sure quite who the presiding traffic policeman had annoyed, but I shall never forget seeing him fear for his life as he stood in the middle of about 6 lanes, directing the lorries heading dockwards on either side of him.
Definitely not a job you'd volunteer for.
With thanks to Mark Dowling, Chris McKenna and Paul for information on this page.