|Maintained by National Highways|
|Length||18.9 mi (30.4 km)|
J11 → M56 motorway
|South end||Hoole Village|
The M53 is an 18.9-mile (30.4 km) motorway in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside and the borough of Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire on the Wirral Peninsula in England. It is also referred to as the Mid Wirral Motorway. It runs between the Kingsway Tunnel, at Wallasey in the north, and the A55 at Chester.
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.
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 three-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 4 miles (6.4 km) (where it crosses the Wirral railway line), before narrowing to dual two-lane and turning sharply to the east. At junction 5, traffic for Wales can take the A41, A550 and 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.
This motorway was originally two separate projects, the M53 and M531. The M53 was originally proposed to run from the Kingsway Tunnel to Backford. 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 on the Welsh border, giving Liverpool and the rest of Merseyside 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.
The first section of the M531 was built to improve access to the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port facility. It was opened in 1968 as a non-designated road. 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 Merseyside. 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. This first section from the tunnel to junction 5, where it connected straight into the Vauxhall Motors road, was opened by Lord Leverhulme in a ceremony at Hooton on 1 February 1972. A junction was partially built to allow extension of the motorway further south west, around 1 mile (1.6 km) west of junction 5. The unbuilt motorway would have provided a bypass of the A41 and would likely have terminated on the M56, though exactly where is unknown. The unfinished junction for this extension has now been demolished.
- Junctions 1 to 5 were opened in 1972
- Junctions 5 to 8 were redesignated as motorway in 1974 as part of the M531
- 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
This article contains a bulleted list or table of intersections which should be presented in a properly formatted junction table.(December 2021)
|M53 motorway junctions|
|mile||km||Northbound exits (B carriageway)||Junction||Southbound exits (A carriageway)|
|0.0||0.0||End of motorway
Road continues as Wallasey Tunnel towards Liverpool
|J1||Birkenhead, New Brighton, Wallasey A5139 (A554)|
|Birkenhead [Note 1] A5139||Start of motorway|
|Wallasey, Birkenhead A554|
|6.5||10.5||Hoylake, West Kirby (A551)||J2||Hoylake, West Kirby (A551)|
|8.6||13.8||Birkenhead A552||J3||Birkenhead, Heswall A552|
|11.7||18.8||Clatterbridge, Heswall, Bebington A5137||J4||Bebington, Bromborough, Clatterbridge, Neston A5137|
|15.8||25.4||Birkenhead, Queensferry A41||J5||NORTH WALES, Queensferry, Eastham A41|
|16.2||26.1||Entering Merseyside||J6||Vauxhall (Cars Only), Eastham Oil Terminal|
|Vauxhall (Cars Only), Eastham Oil Terminal||Entering Cheshire|
|17.5||28.2||Overpool, Whitby, North Road Industrial Estate B5132||J7||Overpool, Whitby, North Road Industrial Estate B5132|
|18.3||29.5||Netherpool and Rossmore Industrial Estates, Docks||J8||Netherpool and Rossmore Industrial Estates, Docks|
|19.1||30.7||Ellesmere Port (Centre), Boat Museum A5032||J9||Ellesmere Port (Centre), Stanlow, Boat Museum A5032|
|20.9||33.7||Queensferry, Stanlow A5117||J10||Queensferry, Stanlow A5117|
|21.6||34.8||Runcorn, Liverpool , Warrington, (M6),||J11||Runcorn, Warrington, (M6), Manchester M56|
|24.5||39.5||Start of motorway||J12||Chester A56|
|24.9||40.1||Chester, Helsby A56
|End of motorway |
Road continues as A55 towards North Wales
|End of motorway
West Kirby A551 (B5139)
Moreton A551, Hoylake (A553)
||Moreton A551, Hoylake (A553)|
|Upton A551||Start of motorway|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- 1: Signed as 'All Docks'.
|Section||Capacity||AADT (2019)||Count point data|
|J2-J2A (Moreton Spur)||D2||43,788||56042|
- "Motorway Database: M53". CBRD. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "The Mid-Wirral Motorway M53 and A55 Extension to the Welsh Border". The Motorway Archive. Archived from the original on 23 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- ,"CBRD Motorway Database-M53 Exit List". crdb.co.uk. Chris Marshall. Archived from the original on 23 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "M53. The Mid-Wirral Motorway". The Motorway Archive. The Motorway Archive Trust. Archived from the original on 23 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- Marshall, Chris. "CBRD » Histories » The M53". CBRD. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- Hughes, Lorna (26 December 2017). "The story of the M53 - how the mid-Wirral motorway was built". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
- "Written Answers to Questions". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 23 July 1993. col. 403.
- "The Motorway Archive – M53 Opening Dates". Institution of Highways and Transportation. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2006.
- Craig Williams (29 September 2023). "M53 crash: Coach driver and 15-year-old schoolgirl killed". The Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
- "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
- Cummins, Dr Anthony G. (6 August 2021). "Health inequalities on Wirral: A living Black report?".
- "The M53 divide: How Wirral is split between poverty and wealth". 2 September 2018.
- "'Pixie encounter' under Cheshire bridge inspires Tate exhibition". BBC. 25 September 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- "Mark Leckey O' Magic Power of Bleakness". Tate. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- Manning, Craig (5 January 2021). "M53 Moreton Spur bridge replacement continues this weekend". Wirral Globe.
- Manning, Craig (8 January 2021). "Next phase of M53 Moreton Spur bridge replacement to start". Wirral Globe.
- "M53 Moreton Bridge Demolition". Carnell Group.
- "M53 Bidston Moss Viaduct Upgrade A Major Success". Costain. 2 April 2012.
- "£2.8 million M53 bridge repairs underway". UK Government. 6 February 2015.