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.

Melling – When a cycle path ends

Being a cyclist I get used to cycle paths ending in odd places (probably where the money runs out!) but one place in Melling just past Junction 1 of the M58 is a real pain and it’s potentially dangerous too. Below is a shot of the ending, where the cycle path rejoins the road:-

The motorway junction is behind the camera. The effect of the cycle path ending here is that a cyclist has to look right around behind them to see if the traffic is clear before rejoining the road. But the joining place is too close to the roundabout in my view, so you can’t easily see vehicles coming around it or off the M58 slip road, at speed, at all clearly.

I’m pretty sure the highway engineer who picked this spot for the cycle path to end could not have been a regular cyclist.

However, I may well have some good news about the cycle path being extended towards Melling Mount and beyond soon. Watch this space.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Melling – Giddygate Lane – Tree Cover Gone

The clearance of tree cover around Junction 1 of the M58, prior to it being made into a full junction, is complete and it’s changed the landscape completely:-

Looking towards Poppy Fields

Trees to sawdust:-)

Giddygate Lane entrance and of course the fly tippers have visited too

Click on the photos to enlarge them