Switch Island – Highways England seem to have stopped celebrating it

Most folk do not walk or cycle around the now infamous Switch Island where the M57 & M58 Motorways join with the A59, A5036 and the new(ish) Brooms Cross Road but it’s quite possible and even safe to do so. Indeed it’s probably safer than driving around it based on the almost daily road traffic accidents that happen there. However, if you do walk or cycle it you will come across this large boulder with 2 metal plaques set into it:-

The plaques record the 1st and 2nd phases of the reconstruction of the junction in 1998 and 2006. But what about the other phases? I think there have been 2 additional ones – one when Brooms Cross Road was joined to it and then very recently when major re-signage and safety changes were made. Now it could be that austerity means there’s no money for additional plaques, or the boulder’s not big enough for additional ones, or despite all the phases and changes the damn thing (the island not the boulder) is a bit of an embarrassment to Highways England so they are trying to keep a low profile? All 3 are, I’m willing to believe, potentially the case of course.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

M58/Melling – Ashworth Junction works start

Well it seems that works have finally started to make this junction a full one. This was the scene this morning 28th May as set up works were commencing:-

My old friend and former Sudell ward Sefton Councillor (and former Mayor of the Borough of Sefton) Cliff Mainey started the fight to get this junction made into a full one quite some years ago; early 2000’s if memory serves.

Switch Island – Lots of public money spent BUT will it be any safer?

Anyone who tries to negotiate the hugely complex Switch Island will have seen that the recent upgrade/safety works by Highways England have all but been completed. The big question now is will it be any safer?

I’ve commented on this matter many times before as both a driver and indeed as a cyclist as I have witnessed driver behaviour.

To sum up, the problems as I have seen them are:-

* Too higher speeds approaching the junction
* Red light running/jumping
* Confused drivers veering from lane to lane
* Impatient regular users not allowing for the confused/lost drivers

One issue that comes quickly to mind is that towards the end of the M57 the speed has recently been reduced to 50mph and then even nearer to Switch Island to 40mph. That these new speed restrictions are almost completely ignored, you will not be surprised to hear, is pretty much all of the time. Indeed, the other day I reached the 50mph section, I slowed to 50 mph and had a horn blown at me because I had slowed down a fellow driver! My point being why are there not speed cameras on the approaches to Switch Island like at the end of the M62 as you near the Rocket in Liverpool?

Oh and another thing, this time from a cyclists perspective. Why have the street lamps which foul the cycle path around one part of Switch Island not been re-sited? Highways England have known about the problem for quite some time now:-

Melling – Is preparatory work starting on the ‘Ashworth’ Motorway junction?

Is this sign, which has been on display for a while now, an indication that the long-promised works are about to start on making the M58 Junction 1 a full junction? Having said that it’s only closing Giddygate Lane for 3 days from tomorrow:-

And only yards away was this scene! How on earth did that car get down into the farmer’s field and why?

Travelling in the north is no fun what so ever!

If only our northern Motorways were all free flowing as the M58 was when this shot was taken.

I’ve commented often about the parlous state of our railways here up north. Probably with the exception of Merseyrail they are a right old mess, but what about our roads?

If my two recent experiences on Motorways across the north is anything to go by they are probably in a worse state than our railways and that takes some believing.

Lydiate to Chesterfield via the M62 and M1 last Sunday – 5 hours! OK a couple of stops along the way for about 30 mins in total but I used to be able to that journey in 3hrs easily with a similar stop off.

Chesterfield to Lydiate via M1 (no forget that) Buxton, Knutsford, M6, M62, M57 – also 5 hours! This time with about 50 mins stopping.

On the way there we sat, I kid you not, for 2hrs and 20mins between Rochdale and Saddleworth going nowhere with the Motorway supposedly closed. Then it cleared and no one had any idea what it had all been about.

On the way back the M1 was backed up from Junction 30 northwards so we had to double back a couple of junctions to go across country through the Peak District.

And to think four and half hours or so to do just around 100 miles. If we continue to travel like this we will grind our economy to a halt even without the ‘help’ of Brexit! Very definitely it’s Northern Poorhouse not Northern Powerhouse:-(((

Maghull to Kirkby via Melling – A cycle path for Prescot Road/School Lane?

Well it seems so as Sefton and Knowsley Councils are planning to construct one.

It will effectively run from the site of the new Maghull North railway station, over the Ashworth Junction of the M58 (where there’s already a short section of cycle path taking cyclists around the busy motorway junction) and on down Prescot Road towards Kirkby. The photo below shows the end of the present cycle path as you go around the junction heading towards Melling Mount:-

Sefton and Knowsley Councils are still developing proposals for the cycle track but the project has funding secured. Construction is scheduled for 2020 as I understand it. However, construction of the first section adjacent to the junction will take place soon as part of the contract to build the new westerly slip roads to the M58 junction. This move should alleviate the cyclists problem on the Kirkby side of the junction which I have previously identified.

I’m also told that on the Maghull side of the motorway junction, there will be a requirement on the developer/s of the proposed business park and housing development to continue the cycle path across the whole of the north of the site alongside School Lane. What is being referred to here is Maghull’s urban extension on the Maghull East site. The map below may assist in understanding the geography of what i an blogging about:-

The large red area is the ‘Maghull East’ urban extension. The M58 Junction 1 is in grey – with Prescot Road running north to south on the right of the map. School Lane runs across the northerly edge of red area. The yellow area is the presently being constructed Poppy Fields, Pavilions housing developments and new station site

More news when I have it.