Thornton bypass: 40 years in the planning and finally the new Switch Island link road opens today
Thornton’s long-awaited bypass will open today - more than four decades after it was first proposed.
The Thornton to Switch Island link road will be called the A5758 Broom’s Cross Road and promises to transform journeys for communities north of Liverpool.
It is named after Broom’s Cross, the site of a medieval wayside cross near Thornton.
Costs for the road came in at £20.4m, over the original planned scheme costs of £18.325m.
Work started on the bypass in January 2014 after the Government confirmed in 2013 its Department for Transport would contribute up to £14.5m towards the road.
Broom’s Cross Road is expected to reduce peak hour journey times by up to seven minutes between Thornton and Switch Island. It will also take high volumes of ‘through traffic’ out of the communities of Netherton and Thornton.
When will the road be open?
The new link will be opened to traffic on the evening of Wednesday, August 19. A formal opening ceremony will be held at the site during the afternoon and the road will be opened to traffic that evening once the peak traffic has cleared.
What took so long?
A Thornton bypass has been talked about for years, but even once work started there were delays.
Wet weather at the start of 2014 meant work on the site was held up for about three months.
Once work got underway, the ground conditions proved more difficult than the pre-construction surveys had indicated.
The main contractor, Balfour Beatty, along with sub-contractors and Sefton council, had to spend a lot of time constructing the road’s foundations as the ground along several sections of the route was very soft.
Where does the road go?
The 2.8 mile road links the A565 Southport Road and the M57/M58 Switch Island Junction.
What is Broom’s Cross?
Broom’s Cross is a scheduled monument in Thornton, near to the new road.
Historically it marked a consecrated crossing place.
Only the base of the monument remained but Thornton Parish Council put a new cross on the stone base several years ago.
Why did it take 40 years for the bypass to come to fruition?
1968: The need for an improved route between Switch Island and Southport Road (A565T) was identified in 1968 during the planning process for the M57, M58 and M62 motorways.
Following their construction, several proposals to provide a direct link bypassing Netherton and Thornton were developed.
The Northern Perimeter Road will be closed from 9:30am to 3:30pm from 20th August to 28th August.
Story by Southport Visiter and Photos by James Maloney