- A5 road (Great Britain)
UK road routebox
direction= North-west - South-east
Marble Arch, Westminster
St Albans Dunstable Milton Keynes Hinckley
end= Admiralty Arch,
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 Londonto Holyhead, following in part a section of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.
The history of the A5 begins with
Thomas Telfordin the early nineteenth century. Following the Act of Union 1800, which unified Great Britainand Ireland, the government saw the need for improving communication links between Londonand Dublin. A Parliamentary committee led to an Act of Parliamentof 1815that 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.
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 roadIter II.
Shrewsburyand through Wales, Telford's work was more extensive. In places he followed existing roads, but he also built new links, including the Menai Suspension Bridgeto connect the mainland with Angleseyand the Stanley Embankmentto Holy Island.
Telford's road was complete with the opening of the
Menai Suspension Bridgein 1826.
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
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
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] ]
Marble Archin London, the A5 runs north-west up the Edgware Roadthrough Kilburn and Cricklewood. The A5 number disappears near Edgware, but the Roman Road continues as the A5183 through Elstree, Radlett, St Albansand 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 Potterspuryand then Towcester. After crossing the A43 at a small roundabout, the road accompanies the Grand Union Canaland the M1 Motorway through the Watford Gap. As it passes close to Rugbythe road is diverted slightly around the DIRFTcomplex which was built in 1997. The next phase to the Welsh border takes it through Hinckleybefore 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 Cannockand Telford, where it meets the M54 motorway. It then runs to Shrewsburyand Oswestrybefore entering Walesjust west of Chirk. From the English border, it continues through Llangollen, Corwen, Capel Curig, and Bangor before arriving at Holyheadvia a bridge between Wales and Anglesey.
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 Chirkto Holyhead, avoiding the mountainous A5 route through Snowdoniaand instead going via the much gentler Cheshire gapand along the coast.
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
EuroRAPreport publish by the Road Safety Foundation.
* Quartermaine "et al" (2003) "Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road: The A5 in North Wales", Council for British Archaeology ISBN 1-902771-34-6
A5 road (Isle of Man)
A5 road (Northern Ireland)
* [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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