M53 motorway

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The M53 is a 19-mile-long motorway on the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire.[1] It can also be referred to as the Mid Wirral Motorway.[2] It runs between the Kingsway Tunnel, at Wallasey in the north, and the A55 at Chester.[1]

The main reason for the motorway was to provide a through route to the new Mersey Road Tunnel, Kingsway, which was built at the same time. Part of this motorway was originally the M531.


Looking northwards, midway between junctions 3 and 4 at Storeton

Starting at the northern end, the motorway starts in Wallasey at the exit slip roads from the Kingsway Tunnel from Liverpool. It loops round the north west of Birkenhead and then runs south as a dual 3-lane route between Upton, Woodchurch in the west and Prenton. From junctions 1 to 3 it runs parallel to the Borderlands railway line. It crosses this line south of junction 3. From this junction it proceeds south to the west of Bebington through junction 4 and then further south for four miles (where it crosses the Wirral railway line), before narrowing to dual 2 lanes[3] and turning sharply to the east. At junction 5, traffic for North Wales can take the A41, A550 & A494 to join the A55 near Ewloe. The road passes north and then east of Hooton, then to the east of Overpool and Wolverham and with Ellesmere Port to the west.

South of junction 10 the route enters a more rural setting, passing under the M56 motorway at junction 11. Finally it heads south and becomes the A55 North Wales Expressway at junction 12.


This motorway was originally two separate projects, the M53 and M531. The M53 was originally proposed to run from the Kingsway Tunnel to Backford.[4] The M531 would have run from between the current junctions 4 & 5 and provided a connection with the M56 for eastbound travel.

When the M53 was first planned in the early 1960s, it was designed as a route to connect the two Mersey road tunnels with the A55 trunk road near Chester, giving Liverpool and its conurbation a direct link with Chester and the towns on the North Wales coast.

In the event, the A55 link was never built and instead the M531 (by-passing the eastern side of Chester) was incorporated into the M53.[5]


The first section of the M531 was built to improve access to the Vauxhall Motors factory near Ellesmere Port. It was opened in 1968 as a non-designated road.[4] Subsequently this road was extended further south to meet the A5117 and was designated as the M531. In March 1981 the M531 was lengthened to meet the M56 and at this stage the whole route was redesignated as the M53.


Construction on the M53 started in 1969. It was to be built in stages as part of a strategic route to North Wales for traffic from Liverpool and the Wirral. The route to North Wales was unresolved as there was even an option to run due west from south of junction 4 and cross the River Dee on a barrage. In 1972 this first section from the tunnel to junction 5 where it connected straight into the Vauxhall Motors road was opened. A junction was partially built to allow extension of the motorway further south west, around a mile west of junction 5. The unbuilt motorway would have provided a bypass of the A41 and would likely have terminated on the M56,[6] though exactly where is unknown. The unfinished junction for this extension has now been demolished.

The final section of the M53 provided a link to Chester from the M56 and was opened in 1982. No plans are known to exist to complete the originally planned M53.[5]


  • Junctions 1 to 5 were opened in 1972
  • Junctions 5 to 8 were redesignated as motorway in 1974 as part of the M531 [7]
  • Junctions 8 to 10 opened in 1975 as part of the M531
  • Junctions 10 to 11 were opened in 1981
  • Junctions 11 to 12 were opened in 1982


M53 motorway junctions
mile Northbound exits (B carriageway) Junction Southbound exits (A carriageway)
0.0 Road continues as A5139 towards Kingsway Tunnel and Liverpool J1 Bidston, Wallasey A554
Non-motorway traffic
Claughton, Wallasey A554 Start of motorway
6.5 West Kirby, Hoylake, Upton A5027 J2 West Kirby, Hoylake, Upton A5027
8.6 Tranmere, Heswall, Woodchurch, Prenton A552 J3 Tranmere, Heswall, Woodchurch, Prenton A552
11.7 Heswall A5137
Bebington, Port Sunlight B5137
J4 Heswall A5137
Bebington, Port Sunlight B5137
15.8 Eastham, Hooton A41
Queensferry (A550)
J5 Bebington, Eastham, Hooton A41
Queensferry (A550)
16.2 Eastham Oil Terminal B5132 J6 Eastham Oil Terminal B5132
17.5 Overpool, Vauxhall Motors B5132 J7 Overpool, Vauxhall Motors B5132
18.3 Overpool B5132
Industrial Estate A5032
J8 Industrial Estate A5032
19.1 Ellesmere Port A5032
Stanlow Refinery
J9 Ellesmere Port A5032
20.9 Elton, Whitbyheath, Cheshire Oaks A5117
Queensferry (A550)
J10 Elton, Whitbyheath, Cheshire Oaks A5117
Queensferry (A550)
21.6 Runcorn, Warrington, Manchester M56 J11 Runcorn, Warrington, Manchester M56
24.5 Start of motorway J12 Chester A56
24.9 Chester, Helsby A56
Non-motorway traffic
Road continues as A55 to North Wales


Outside links

Motorways in the United Kingdom

Great Britain: M1  • M2  • M3  • M4  • M5  • M6  • M6 Toll  • M8  • M9  • M10  • M11  • M18  • M20  • M23  • M25  • M26  • M27  • M32  • M40  • M42  • M45  • M48  • M49  • M50  • M53  • M54  • M55  • M56  • M57  • M58  • M60  • M61  • M62  • M63  • M65  • M66  • M67  • M69  • M73  • M74  • M77  • M80  • M85  • M90  • M180  • M181  • M271  • M275  • M602  • M606  • M621  • M876  • M898  • Sections of A road: A1(M)

Former motorways marked in italics

Northern Ireland: M1  • M2  • M3  • M5  • M12  • M22