A5 road (Great Britain)


A5 road (Great Britain)

UK road routebox


road= A5
length-mi=
length-km=
direction= North-west - South-east
start= Marble Arch, Westminster
destinations= St Albans
Dunstable
Milton Keynes
Hinckley
Nuneaton
Tamworth
Cannock
Telford
Shrewsbury
Oswestry
Bangor
end= Admiralty Arch, Holyhead
construction-date=
completion-date=
junctions=
ukroadsmall|49
ukroadsmall|483
ukroadsmall|494
ukroadsmall|470
ukroadsmall|55
euroroute=

The A5 is a major road in the United Kingdom. It is also the first Roman built road in England hence the name Roman Road. It runs for about 260 miles (including sections concurrent with other designations) from London to Holyhead, following in part a section of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.

History

The history of the A5 begins with Thomas Telford in the early nineteenth century. Following the Act of Union 1800, which unified Great Britain and Ireland, the government saw the need for improving communication links between London and Dublin. A Parliamentary committee led to an Act of Parliament of 1815 that authorised buying out existing turnpike road interests and, where necessary, constructing a new road, to complete the route between the two capitals. This made it the first major civilian state-funded road building project in Britain since Roman times.

Through England, the road largely took over existing turnpike roads, which mainly followed the route of the Anglo-Saxon "Wæcelinga Stræt" (Watling Street), much of which had been historically the Roman road Iter II.

From Shrewsbury and through Wales, Telford's work was more extensive. In places he followed existing roads, but he also built new links, including the Menai Suspension Bridge to connect the mainland with Anglesey and the Stanley Embankment to Holy Island.

Telford's road was complete with the opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge in 1826.

Notable Features

The road was designed to allow stagecoaches to carry post between London and Holyhead, and thence to Ireland. Therefore throughout its length the gradient never exceeds 5%.

The route through Wales retains many of the original features of Telford's road and has, since 1995, been recognised as an historic route worthy of preservation. These features include -

* many surviving and distinctive toll houses
* 'depots' along the route, being roadside alcoves to store grit and materials
* distinctive milestones at each mile - many originals having survived and been restored, others now replaced by replicas
* distinctive gates in a 'sunburst' design, a few of which have survived
* a weighbridge at Lon Isaf, between Bangor and Bethesda

Tŷ Nant Cutting

In 1997, a section of bends on Telford's road between Tŷ Nant and Dinmael, in Wales, was by-passed by a modern cutting. However in 2006, investigations revealed that the rock face in the cutting had become unstable, and the A5 was closed from the end of May 2006 [ [http://new.wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2006/967635/?lang=en Closure Of A5 Trunk Road Between Ty Nant And Dinmael] ] . Traffic was diverted onto the old A5 route, on a stretch known as the Glyn Bends, whilst the rock face was made safe. This involved the removal of 230,000 tonnes of rock and alluvial deposits. In July 2007, the A5 through the reconstructed cutting was reopened. [ [http://www.jones-bros-ruthin.co.uk/news2.html A5 at Ty Nant reopens ahead of schedule] ]

Route

Starting at Marble Arch in London, the A5 runs north-west up the Edgware Road through Kilburn and Cricklewood. The A5 number disappears near Edgware, but the Roman Road continues as the A5183 through Elstree, Radlett, St Albans and Redbourn, to junction 9 of the M1, where it becomes the A5 again. From there on, it passes through Dunstable, where it crosses and briefly multiplexes with the A505. The stretch through Dunstable is mostly single carriageway with a 30mph speed limit and at-grade pedestrian crossings, and as a result serious traffic jams are frequent on this stretch. North of Dunstable the A5 passes through the village of Hockliffe, before becoming a dual carriageway and bypassing Little Brickhill. After a large roundabout with the A4146, the road becomes a fully grade-separated dual carriageway and passes through Milton Keynes. This stretch, known locally as the 'A5D', was built in 1981 and enabled the older route to be incorporated into the Milton Keynes grid road system. After passing Old Stratford, the dual carriageway ends at a large roundabout with the A508. The single carriageway then continues to pass through Potterspury and then Towcester. After crossing the A43 at a small roundabout, the road accompanies the Grand Union Canal and the M1 Motorway through the Watford Gap. As it passes close to Rugby the road is diverted slightly around the DIRFT complex which was built in 1997. The next phase to the Welsh border takes it through Hinckley before it bypasses the northern fringes of Nuneaton.After this the road formally passed straight through Tamworth, but a dual carriageway bypass has now been provided in a similar vein to the one in Milton Keynes (see above). From this point the road is a dual carriageway up until its junction with the M6 toll. After this junction it passes through Cannock and Telford, where it meets the M54 motorway. It then runs to Shrewsbury and Oswestry before entering Wales just west of Chirk. From the English border, it continues through Llangollen, Corwen, Capel Curig, and Bangor before arriving at Holyhead via a bridge between Wales and Anglesey.

Alternative routes

Parts of the A5 have been replaced by sections of the M1 north of London, the M54 through Telford, the M6, and the M6 Toll. The A55 route in North Wales is now the usual way to get from Chirk to Holyhead, avoiding the mountainous A5 route through Snowdonia and instead going via the much gentler Cheshire gap and along the coast.

Road Safety

In June 2008, a 16km stretch of the A5 between Daventry and Rugby was named as the most dangerous road in the East Midlands. [ [http://www.eurorap.org/library/pdfs/20080627_GB_High_RISK_Regional.pdf Highest risk road sections in each UK Government Office Region (2004-2006)] ] This single carriageway stretch had 15 fatal and serious injury collisions between 2004 and 2006, and was rated as Red -- the second highest risk band -- in the EuroRAP report publish by the Road Safety Foundation.

References

* Quartermaine "et al" (2003) "Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road: The A5 in North Wales", Council for British Archaeology ISBN 1-902771-34-6

ee also

*A5 road (Isle of Man)
*A5 road (Northern Ireland)

External links

* [http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/roadlists/f99/5.shtml Society for All British Road Enthusiasts entry for the A5]
* [http://www.road-to-nowhere.co.uk/route-guides/A5/ Road to Nowhere: A5]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2873107.stm Nesscliffe bypass opened 21 March 2003.]
* [http://www.milestonesweb.com/features/telford.htm Milestonesweb entry]
* [http://www.eurorap.org/ EuroRAP GB Tracking Survey Results 2008]
* [http://www.roadsafetyfoundation.com/ Road Safety Foundation]


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