M62 - M621 - A650

Gildersome Interchange

Where is it?

M62 junction 27, the starting point of the M621 and a junction with the A62 and A650. From the west, it is one of the main junctions for Leeds, and form all directions is a crucial link to other local areas. It handles an awful lot of traffic. And let's not forget the retail parks to the south — a huge multi-screen cinema, lots of big stores, and that guaranteed tailback generator, Ikea.

What's wrong with it?

It's a dumbbell that's trying to do far too many things. The main problems are not the 'outside' sliproads, but the M62 east-facing slips, which are relegated to connecting with the A62 in the middle instead of the roundabouts themselves.

Imagine leaving the M62 westbound to go north on the A62. First you need to turn left ninety degrees and then move into the right hand lane of three on the A62, usually from a standing start and across traffic that won't move because it needs to be in lane for the roundabout twenty yards ahead. This is particularly enjoyable when driving a HGV.

At the roundabout, you'll find there are three lanes on the A62, but only two on the roundabout. Who designed that? Turn round 180-degrees to come back on yourself to continue. The story is similar from most directions. Oh, and the signing is dreadful too.

Why is it wrong?

It's in a fairly built up area already, so land may have been a problem. In design terms, the best explanation I can come up with is that when the Ministry were designing the M62, they let some of the cleaning staff have a go on this one.

What would be better?

An immediate help would be to have the M62 westbound off-slip exiting before it does now, and then joining the southern roundabout after M621 traffic does. The best use for any free-flowing sliproads here would be directly into Ikea's car park.


Right to reply

Strowger 1 August 2005

A major criticism of this junction is that the recent work didn't extend to adding another lane (at least westbound and preferably eastbound too) as far as the next junction (26). Going west, it feels like the extended entrance sliproad runs half the distance to 26.

To expect the sheer volume of traffic that is the westbound M62, the M621, and the traffic leaving the retail park to all merge without significant delays is madness.

Eastbound, unless it's the very quietest time of day, 26-27 is uphill and the usual overtaking HGVs slow everyone down.

C Jones 7 August 2005

The biggest problem with this junction is it is too busy & too much happens too quickly unless you know it well. The A650 roundabout seems to be designed to stress anyone. If you join this junction from the south trying to head east from the A62 there is an incredible amount of weaving about to do - not to mention avoiding the eager heavily-laden cars full of Ikea shoppers. If you are not in the outside lane of the roundabout by the time you have done 180 degrees you have to do the whole thing all over again. Then for good measure there is the M621 sliproad where you would expect the M62 to be so after going back down the other side of the road you have just come up, most who don't know it (and some who do) are confused. Then you suddenly spot the left turn onto the eastbound carriageway at an angle which would launch Thunderbird 2 and there are lots of flapping motorists. How anyone manages to get their Ikea flat packs home in one piece has always been a great mystery.

Barry Salter 7 November 2005

I wholeheartedly agree with the inclusion of this as a bad junction, having been "caught out" by it recently. The plan was to head from Leeds Station to a Hotel in the vicinity of the junction in question. Easy enough, you might think. Head down the M621, onto the A62, then onto the A650 to our destination. Easier said than done, alas. Thanks to the absolutely diabolical signage of the junction we ended up on the M62 heading towards Manchester. Not a good start...So we tried for a U-turn at the next junction...and ended up on the Bradford Ring Road due to the signage on the roundabout. Oops. It wasn't until we eventually got back to Junction 27 that we realised the nature of the "beast", and managed to tame it. For our return journey into the City Centre the following morning, we opted to take the bus from outside the Hotel...

Derek Geldard 26 February 2006

Before the motorway went through in 1972 - 1976 the whole area was just a piece of desolate moorland decorated with industrial relics such as old coal mines, disused quarries, waste oil works, Ex-WD scrapyards full of rusty WW2 lorries etc. There would have been plenty of land to do a better job of the junction, although catering for the contours could have made it expensive, Presumably that is why the elbow in the M62 at that point exists at all. The whole area has been extensively landfilled by now.

Roger MacArthur 30 August 2008

This is a truly awful junction and I'm glad I no longer use it on a regular basis. For those who do help may be on hand with improvements to the junction that are nearing completion. These involve improvements to the slip roads, extra lanes and traffic lights on the roundabouts. Its only tinkering with what already exists, but lets hope the men from the Ministry ease the problems here.

Andy Birkett 11 February 2009

Traffic signals are being installed at the northern roundabout, which is also being adapted to allow traffic wanting to remain on the A62 to pass across the centre of the roundabout. At the southern roundabout, redundant movements are being blocked to improve traffic flow. In between the two, more traffic signals are being installed, to allow for new right turn filters. These will allow traffic on the northbound A62 between the roundabouts to turn right directly onto the M62 eastbound entry slip, and traffic coming off the M62 eastbound wanting to head south towards Ikea and Huddersfield will be able to turn right across the reservation and directly onto the A62. Whilst these are probably not the most common movements at the junction, at the moment all traffic wanting to make these turns has to go up to the northern roundabout, go full circle and back down the other side of the A62. At present, big queues build on the A650 at almost all times of the day due to the volume of traffic making various turns via the northern roundabout, so the improvements should reduce congestion at the newly signalled roundabout.

Simon Ward 4 April 2009

THe good part is that there are traffic lights on the sliproad coming from the M62 westbound and part of the southern roundabout has been blocked off, making the whole thing more like a dumbbell. Even better, you no longer have to take your life in your hands at the top roundabout if you're coming from A62 south to M62 east - there's a light controlled junction across the entry onto the M62 eastbound sliproad. The signage is now light years ahead of what it was (ie, it makes sense now).

So far so good.

Now the bad bits - presently, the phasing of the traffic lights, and there's a lot of 'em, is screwed up meaning that traffic backs up when it gets busy. Hopefully this'll get sorted soon. Unfortunately, the turning onto the M62 eastbound sliproad is on quite a steep incline, and as a result it'll take several attempts to get through the lights if you're stuck behind an HGV.

Still, infinitely better than it was and far less terrifying too.

Marke 5 October 2010

Now that the HA have tinkered with the northern roundabout and added all the missing bits the junction is a breeze compared to what once was! The only problem now is the signs for Morley on the A62 north are terrible - left lane then right lane then left again (make your mind up!) and there are now more traffic lights to shame Blackpool illuminations!

Terry Trumpets 19 May 2015

Marke correctly points out that the Wakefield/Morley exit is badly signposted from the northbound A62; anyone heading for said exit who is naive enough to believe the signs starts on the left lane, then when they read the second sign they get unnecessarily shunted into the middle lane, when in fact you can legitimately use either lane.

Just to make things more interesting, the exit for the M621 is marked in the wrong lane on the first sign, so M621-bound drivers who are not in the know also start in the left lane and get shunted into the middle lane once they read the second sign!

Robert 23 May 2015

It's interesting to see the previous commenter remarks, but has no taken into consideration that this is a case of the classic HA/HE traffic stacking technique, the right hand lane is signed initially for the primary A650, with the middle for the non-primary A650 to Morley. The objective employed by HE is that the primary route takes precedence and will have the largest flow, thus, must have more stacking space, hence the non-primary A650 is omitted from lane direction signs at the start. I personally disagree with the practice, especially at motorway junctions, but that is clearly what has been implemented here, in an effort to stack traffic held up by the sea of traffic lights!

Shane Beck 28 May 2015

I know exactly what Robert is referring to, I thought everyone knew about stacking? Perhaps not, but it's most common at major roundabout interchanges, for example the M1 Junction 24, where traffic is usually 1 or 2 lanes 500m before the junction, then suddenly spreads out into 4 or more stacking lanes, as the traffic is almost certainly held up at helpfully placed traffic lights.

I used to work for TfL and it was always commonplace design for a traffic light junction on an arterial route to have stacking lanes implemented, hence why on junctions of the inner city A1 and A13 we see the road flaring out to 3+ lanes, then squeezing back into two, or even one afterwards. The objective being to keep traffic stacked at a short distance before the junction, in the hope of preventing long queues affecting other junctions and main carriageways. A major junction like the M62 Junction 27 is a prime example of stacking, chiefly because the carriageway is restricted to a minimum of 3 three lanes, due to the motorway bridges, then afterwards it can flare to 4+ lanes, to allow more traffic to be squeezed into the area to queue. Another classic example of stacking is the A610 and A6002 roundabout to the west of Nottingham.

Anonymous 2 December 2015

Going east off the M62 and trying to head south on the A62 was quite bad, the last time I attempted it - that was after the alterations that are visible on the Google view of it. (The top roundabout has a road across it joining the two parts of the A62 and now has 3 lanes.)

Alex 27 January 2021

Has anyone else noticed the street light which has been left to light up the grass when part of the southern roundabout was removed in the late 2000s.

Naz Khan 30 January 2021

I have travelled on this route many times (and adjoining M1 & Further on M62).It literally drives my relatives from Leeds around the bend!.
To get on the M621 from Birstall/Gildersome,you have to travel almost around the opposite end.
We travel back from the Hunslet Distributor,(around the very sharp bend/s,that's enough to make my sister-in-law sick).
At the intersection of the M1/M62:J-40, A few right merges with fast flowing traffic,very nerve.
I took the exploratory route starting from the M621:J1-7 (Stourton)-M1-M62 & back to Gildersome.

Matthew Whyman 29 March 2023

As someone who lives locally, I have to agree that the signage is appalling, especially from the A650 from Bradford towards the M62 East. Too many lane changes for a start plus signs that appear far too late so drivers get in the wrong lane. Not to mention the amount of HGVs that go towards the retail park via the A62 South, causing even more congestion...

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