From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|From:||Digbeth, Birmingham (SP085861)|
|To:||Thrapston, Northamptonshire (TL004778)|
|Via:||Coventry, Daventry, Northampton, Wellingborough|
|Length:||75.8 miles (122 km)|
|Meets:||A4540, A4040, M42, A452, A4114, A429, A46, A444, A423, A445, M45, A361, A5 M1, A43, A6, A14|
|Now part of:||A14, A154, A4500, B645|
|Birmingham • Birmingham International Airport • Coventry • Ipswich • Northampton • Rugby • Solihull • Wellingborough •|
|Route outline (key)|
In its heyday, the A45 ran from the centre of Birmingham all the way out to Felixstowe, and was a vitally important route from the Midlands to the East Anglian coast, and all points beyond towards the Benelux countries via ferry. With the introduction of the A14 (the offspring of the A45 and A604), the current route of the A45 is brutally truncated and runs for less than half its original length, though it still provides an important link between Birmingham, Coventry and Leamington to Northampton and the M1, for those wishing to avoid the M6.
Birmingham - Dunchurch
It starts amongst an industrial slum area in Digbeth on the outer ring road, and heads out past Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre, where it passes the M42 and the Motorcycle Museum at the Bickenhill Interchange. Almost immediately the A452 is crossed at Stonebridge Interchange and bypasses the village of Meriden.
Just before the road enters Coventry, the A45 swings off in a more southerly alignment along the Coventry southern ring road. Whilst this bit is still dual carriageway, it is very much amongst urban Coventry, and queues are commonplace at the signalised junction with the A429 (which was previously the A46). After this, things pick up again as the road heads out of the urban area, picks up the southbound A46 at Stivichall Interchange, and drops it off again a few miles later at the notoriously busy Tollbar End roundabout, which is listed on CBRD's Bad Junctions list.
After this, the A45 meets the northern terminus of the A423, then passes the villages of Ryton-on-Dunsmore and Wolston. Next, it speeds through lots of open flat fields, and is a nice fast drive on a sunny day. The ancient Fosse Way is crossed at a roundabout near the village of Stretton-on-Dunsmore, and a few miles beyond this, it meets the M45 at an oddly shaped roundabout, the Thurlaston Interchange. The A45 effectively multiplexes with the M45, passing Draycote Water on the right and picks up again the other side of Dunchurch.
Dunchurch - Wellingborough
From here to the M1, the A45 drops back to two lane single carriageway, with hatching in places, as it heads towards Daventry. A maze of roundabouts takes the road round the Daventry bypass where it multiplexes with the mighty A361. Overtaking is not allowed on this section as the centre of the road is hatched over, which can lead to frustration. However, the size of bridges it passes under clearly give the impression an upgrade to dual carriageway was under consideration. Presumably the A14 put paid to that idea. Past Daventry, the A45 is still single carriageway, though the road is quite wide and there are numerous opportunities for overtaking tractors.
At Weedon, the A45 crosses the A5 at a traffic light controlled crossroads - somewhat of a disappointing junction for two mighty routes. A few miles beyond, we meet the M1 at junction 16. Here, the A45 used to continue over the other side of the junction, but this has now been renumbered as the A4500. Here, the road multiplexes with the M1 down to junction 15, where it continues into Northampton on part of the old A508. This section is high quality dual carriageway, and is grade separated. We carry on along the Nene Valley Way, through Northampton and up to a roundabout in Wellingborough.
Wellingborough - Thrapston
The road carries on after the roundabout, with some LILO junctions, grade separated junctions, and a couple of roundabouts thrown into the mix. It carries the A509 on a multiplex, bypassing Wellingborough, and then continuing to bypass Rushden. At this point, the original A45 headed out eastwards towards St Neots on a rather slow stretch of road, now numbered as the B645. The modern A45, however, continues northwards, and drops to single carriageway after a roundabout at Stanwick. It then carries on to meet the A14 (previously A604) at junction 13 near Thrapston. The road after the A14 continues as the A605.
The original (1922) route of the A45 started at the junction of Bordesley High Street (then the A41, now the B4100) and Coventry Road. It then followed Coventry Road out of the city, through Coventry, Dunchurch and Daventry to Northampton. It then continued on what's now the A4500 to Wellingborough, and did a dogleg south to Higham Ferrers, carrying on along the current B645 to St Neots. From there, it followed the A428 into Cambridge, and the basic line of the A14 into Ipswich, ending on the junction of Norwich Road and London Road (then the A12).
It also once ran through the village of Dunchurch, until the junction on the M45 was built to bypass Dunchurch.
A plan for a bypass of the village of Meriden was in existence as far back as 1938, however it was not until the 13th October 1958 that a bypass was open for use. It may have been that the Meriden Bypass was the result of works to upgrade the A45 for the arrival of the M45 Dunchuch Spur further east along the A45 the following year . The old road through the village has since become known as the B4104.
The junction with the A46 at Tollbar End is planned to be upgraded. There is also a current scheme to improve safety between Tollbar Island and the M45 roundabout, see the Highways Agency announcement.
- A45 Northampton - Blacky More to Wootton Footbridge Public Consultation
- A45/A46 Tollbar End Improvement
- A45 Ryton on Dunsmore Junction Improvement (Completed)
- A45/A46 Stivichall Junction (Completed)
- A45/A509 Wilby Way Roundabout Improvement (Completed)