M62 - M621 - A650
Where is it?
M62 junction 27, the starting point of the M621 and a junction with the A62 and A650. From the west, it is one of the main junctions for Leeds, and form all directions is a crucial link to other local areas. It handles an awful lot of traffic. And let's not forget the retail parks to the south — a huge multi-screen cinema, lots of big stores, and that guaranteed tailback generator, Ikea.
What's wrong with it?
It's a dumbbell that's trying to do far too many things. The main problems are not the 'outside' sliproads, but the M62 east-facing slips, which are relegated to connecting with the A62 in the middle instead of the roundabouts themselves.
Imagine leaving the M62 westbound to go north on the A62. First you need to turn left ninety degrees and then move into the right hand lane of three on the A62, usually from a standing start and across traffic that won't move because it needs to be in lane for the roundabout twenty yards ahead. This is particularly enjoyable when driving a HGV.
At the roundabout, you'll find there are three lanes on the A62, but only two on the roundabout. Who designed that? Turn round 180-degrees to come back on yourself to continue. The story is similar from most directions. Oh, and the signing is dreadful too.
Why is it wrong?
It's in a fairly built up area already, so land may have been a problem. In design terms, the best explanation I can come up with is that when the Ministry were designing the M62, they let some of the cleaning staff have a go on this one.
What would be better?
An immediate help would be to have the M62 westbound off-slip exiting before it does now, and then joining the southern roundabout after M621 traffic does. The best use for any free-flowing sliproads here would be directly into Ikea's car park.
Right to reply
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These are the most recent comments on this junction. You can see all comments if you prefer.
Shane Beck thinks it all stacks up:
I know exactly what Robert is referring to, I thought everyone knew about stacking? Perhaps not, but it's most common at major roundabout interchanges, for example the M1 Junction 24, where traffic is usually 1 or 2 lanes 500m before the junction, then suddenly spreads out into 4 or more stacking lanes, as the traffic is almost certainly held up at helpfully placed traffic lights.
I used to work for TfL and it was always commonplace design for a traffic light junction on an arterial route to have stacking lanes implemented, hence why on junctions of the inner city A1 and A13 we see the road flaring out to 3+ lanes, then squeezing back into two, or even one afterwards. The objective being to keep traffic stacked at a short distance before the junction, in the hope of preventing long queues affecting other junctions and main carriageways. A major junction like the M62 Junction 27 is a prime example of stacking, chiefly because the carriageway is restricted to a minimum of 3 three lanes, due to the motorway bridges, then afterwards it can flare to 4+ lanes, to allow more traffic to be squeezed into the area to queue. Another classic example of stacking is the A610 and A6002 roundabout to the west of Nottingham.
Robert has a theory:
It's interesting to see the previous commenter remarks, but has no taken into consideration that this is a case of the classic HA/HE traffic stacking technique, the right hand lane is signed initially for the primary A650, with the middle for the non-primary A650 to Morley. The objective employed by HE is that the primary route takes precedence and will have the largest flow, thus, must have more stacking space, hence the non-primary A650 is omitted from lane direction signs at the start. I personally disagree with the practice, especially at motorway junctions, but that is clearly what has been implemented here, in an effort to stack traffic held up by the sea of traffic lights!
Can anyone verify that this is Highways England policy? -Ed.
Terry Trumpets has trouble finding the right lane:
Marke correctly points out that the Wakefield/Morley exit is badly signposted from the northbound A62; anyone heading for said exit who is naive enough to believe the signs starts on the left lane, then when they read the second sign they get unnecessarily shunted into the middle lane, when in fact you can legitimately use either lane.
Just to make things more interesting, the exit for the M621 is marked in the wrong lane on the first sign, so M621-bound drivers who are not in the know also start in the left lane and get shunted into the middle lane once they read the second sign!
Marke is blinded by the lights:
Now that the HA have tinkered with the northern roundabout and added all the missing bits the junction is a breeze compared to what once was! The only problem now is the signs for Morley on the A62 north are terrible - left lane then right lane then left again (make your mind up!) and there are now more traffic lights to shame Blackpool illuminations!
Simon Ward takes stock of recent improvement works:
THe good part is that there are traffic lights on the sliproad coming from the M62 westbound and part of the southern roundabout has been blocked off, making the whole thing more like a dumbbell. Even better, you no longer have to take your life in your hands at the top roundabout if you're coming from A62 south to M62 east - there's a light controlled junction across the entry onto the M62 eastbound sliproad. The signage is now light years ahead of what it was (ie, it makes sense now).
So far so good.
Now the bad bits - presently, the phasing of the traffic lights, and there's a lot of 'em, is screwed up meaning that traffic backs up when it gets busy. Hopefully this'll get sorted soon. Unfortunately, the turning onto the M62 eastbound sliproad is on quite a steep incline, and as a result it'll take several attempts to get through the lights if you're stuck behind an HGV.
Still, infinitely better than it was and far less terrifying too.