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The A56 is a road in Englandmarker which extends between the city of Chestermarker in Cheshiremarker and the village of Broughtonmarker in North Yorkshire. The road contains a mixture of single and dual carriageway sections, and traverses environments as diverse as the dense urban sprawl of inner city Manchestermarker and the lightly populated region of rural east Lancashiremarker. The road includes a short section of trunk road - designated A56(T) - between the end of the M66 motorway near Ramsbottommarker and the M65 motorway west of Burnleymarker.

Route description

The road begins as Frodsham Street in the centre of Chestermarker at its junction with Eastgate Street A51 and heads north-eastwards out of the city. Just outside the city, the A56 crosses Junction 12 of the M53 motorway, continuing in a north easterly direction. The road passes through the towns and villages of Mickle Traffordmarker, Helsbymarker and Frodshammarker whilst roughly paralleling the course of the south side of the M56 motorway. After leaving Frodshammarker, the A56 crosses the M56 at Junction 11 and passes the towns of Runcornmarker and Warringtonmarker, taking up a more easterly direction to again parallel the course of the north side of the motorway.

The road crosses the M6 motorway halfway between Junctions 20 and 21, before passing through Lymmmarker on its way to its junction with the A556 road at Bowdonmarker. At Bowdon the A56 turns sharply northwards, passing Altrinchammarker and Salemarker, crossing the M60 Manchester Outer Ring Roadmarker at Junction 7 into Stretfordmarker.

The A56 continues north-eastwards into inner city Manchester, taking on the additional name of Deansgatemarker, one of Manchester's main shopping streets. At the end of Deansgate, the A56 takes on the name of Victoria Street as it passes Manchester Victoria Railway Stationmarker.

Turning sharply to the north-west, the A56 leaves Manchester and goes through Salfordmarker on its way to Prestwichmarker where it again crosses the M60 Manchester Outer Ring Roadmarker at Junction 17. Heading due north the road passes Whitefieldmarker and cuts through Burymarker before crossing the M66 motorway at Junction 1. The road follows the M66 up to its terminus at the unsigned Junction 1a.

Merging with the end of the motorway, the road becomes a trunk road and takes on the designation to signify it as the preferred route for traffic leaving the M66. Again heading roughly due northwards the A56(T) passes Haslingdenmarker and Accringtonmarker before joining the M65 motorway at Junction 8, slightly to the west of Burnleymarker.

After joining the M65, the A56 disappears from the maps, only to reappear some miles to the north-west as a short piece of road connecting the A682 to the A6068 close to M65 Junction 13. The A56 again disappears before starting again from a roundabout on the A6068 close to M65 Junction 14.

Taking an easterly direction, the A56 goes through Brierfield, Nelson and Colnemarker before turning sharply to the north. Now cutting through the more rural parts of east Lancashiremarker the road passes Foulridgemarker and Earbymarker, finally reaching its termination point where it merges with the A59 road to the west of Broughtonmarker in North Yorkshire.

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