From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|From:||Perry Barr (SP067910)|
|Length:||49.1 miles (79 km)|
|Meets:||A34, A452, A5127, A38, A446, A5, A51, A42, M1, A50, A6, A52, A6008|
|Former Number(s):||B4139, A447, A5129 A648|
|Now part of:||B5493, B587, B6540, A6005|
|Birmingham • East Midlands Airport • Nottingham • Tamworth|
|Route outline (key)|
The A453 is a road in two parts and several sections, ranging from urban to rural trunk.
Section 1: Birmingham - Tamworth
The road starts at Perry Barr. The A34 being the recommended North-South route in the area, and the A4040 being the recommended East-West route in the area, and the "One-Stop" shopping centre being the most popular in the area, what hope have you got? Somewhere among this lot is the rather complex junction with the A453, which has slips onto the A34 and onto the A34/A4040 island. At first the road (a dual carriageway) is called Aldridge Road, until that name TOTSOs at the M6 motorway bridge and the A453 becomes College Road, named after Oscott Roman Catholic Seminary at the top of the hill. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. As soon as the road starts we hit the first lights, for Wellhead Lane, opposite Perry Barr Greyhound Stadium. Another 500 yards brings us to Perry Bridge, an ancient road bridge which is no longer used, a new bridge having been built a few yards to the East. Perry parish church is here just off to the left, alongside Perry Park, home of the Alexander athletics stadium. The road changes direction from North to North-East as it passes under the motorway, crosses the canal and the dual carriageway B4138 forks off to the left towards Lichfield. There are two islands, one set of lights and a hill to slow you down a bit on the next two miles through the council estates of Perry Common.
The dual carriageway ends at the signalled junction with the A452, and as we cross we enter the Boldmere district of Sutton Coldfield and the house prices double. The road is now called Jockey Road; the B4149 comes in from the left and the B4142 goes out to the right. Jockey Road ends at Birmingham Road - A5127 (the former A38) - and the A453 turns left and duplexes with it through the centre of Sutton. Part of the duplex is a one-way inner ring road. The A453 parts company with the A5127 at a signalled junction (its start until 1935), the A453 going right as Tamworth Road. After a mile the B4148 arrives from the South and we enter the countryside. Soon we pass under the M6 Toll and arrive at Bassett's Pole, the busy roundabout where the A453, A38 and A446 meet. Outside the eponymous pub you can see the fingerpost from the pre-roundabout days. Here we enter Staffordshire, the A453 becomes primary, and also dual carriageway again for a mile or so, until we pass the end of the B4151. There are two miles of pleasant countryside before the traffic lights at the junction with the B5404 (the former A5, Roman road) at Mile Oak. We pass over the A5 soon after; there are Westbound entry and exit slips. The entry slip is off an island which also serves the (original) B5404. We're now on non-primary Bonehill Road and it's less than two miles to the centre of Tamworth and the end of the road. But first there are three islands, the third one being the A51, and a short stretch of dual carriageway which includes a junction with the A4091 and a bridge over the same River Tame we crossed near the start. The end is the huge A51/A513/A453/B5000 Ankerdrive island (which has 5 roundabouts on it), on the South side of which is a hangar-like structure which conceals Tamworth's indoor ski slope. The A453 disappears here.
Section 2: Tonge – Nottingham
Today the A453 resumes its route some 20 miles to the northeast, at the A42 Tonge junction, which has limited access only from the South (geographic West). After a short sweep bypassing the village (contemporary with the A42 road) the A453 comes to the T junction with the old route where it is necessary to give way and turn right to be back on track. To the left is Breedon church, perched high on a half-quarried hill, and after a few tight bends the road begins its approach to Donington Park racing circuit. Although the modern road continues straight on at the rural traffic lights, a recommended detour is to turn left along the old A453 and, having first visited the racing cars in “The Donington Collection”, drive round the West end of the airport runway to see a variety of historic aircraft parked in the museum on the right.
Back on the modern A453, a small roundabout serves the airport's freight area and, half a mile further are the traffic lights at the entrance to East Midlands Airport. Another roundabout serves more commercial development, leading on to another roundabout at the Donington Park services. This fast and tight island leads to the service area to the right, and slip roads on to the M1 Southbound (junction 23A) and the A42 dual carriageway. The first exit is the A453, now a primary route once again, going North to the M1 junction 24 interchange; on the diagonal of this ‘squareabout’ over the motorway, the road begins the next section towards Nottingham.
Ratcliffe on Soar power station may have provided the initial impetus for the creation of the fast stretch from the M1 to the former B679, Kegworth to Clifton road. The first 2½ miles to the entrance of the power station was built in about 1970, along with the remaining section to the city boundary being upgraded and improved. Speed cameras ensure a slow crawl through Clifton and past the Trent University campus, before the road heads out across the flats to reach the A52. Keep in the left hand lane for the modern Clifton Bridge and so be ready for the ‘up and over’ single lane bridge to turn right and descend to Queens Drive. The road, no longer a primary route, now follows the North bank of the Trent before the Queens Drive turns away towards the city centre and Broadmarsh bus station.
The A453 ran originally from Sutton Coldfield to Wollaton Park (west of Nottingham), via Tamworth, Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Long Eaton. Many changes to its route have occurred over the past eighty years. The 1930s saw some improvement, notably around its junction with the A6 near Cavendish Bridge. In 1935 the road was extended from Sutton Coldfield south-west to the A34 at Perry Barr (taking over the B4139) and a short section of the road through Sutton town centre was subsumed under the A38.
The motorway era, and the arrival of the M1 at Kegworth in 1965, brought no direct changes to the A453, although the volume of traffic in the area would have been markedly affected. A new road, built circa 1970 from junction 24 of the M1 and striking out North-East towards Barton Lodge and Clifton Bridge in Nottingham, was temporarily numbered the A648. By 1978 it had been renumbered the A453, with the old road North of the Trent through Long Eaton becoming the B6540 and A6005. Also by this time the A5129, which ran South of, and served, East Midlands Airport was connected to the M1 junction 24 to become part of the A453, thus bypassing Castle Donington entirely.
In the 1970s and 1980s, extensive development of Tamworth in the ‘new town’ style saw a mass of road building including a new A5 bypass. By 1995 the A453 met the A5 dual carriageway at a grade-separated junction and, a little nearer the town, via a large roundabout and a full trumpet junction before halting at the Ankerdrive island described above.
Elsewhere, the North-West Leicestershire area was to benefit from an extension of the M42 to Nottingham. Well, perhaps that was the original idea, but by the late 1980s the scheme had shrunk to a free flow ‘trunk’ dual carriageway with access to the M1 South of Kegworth. The A453 disappeared between Tamworth and Ashby with the completion of the A42 and was then cut back to Tonge (taking over a short section of A447) a few years later.
The 2004 Ordnance Survey Landranger map sheet 128 shows that a number of 'B' roads in the National Forest area have recently been declassified, including the B5006 and B5003 from the A42 at Willesley South of Ashby to the A511 North of the town.
The Highways Agency have recently published plans to widen the A453 from the M1 to the A52 Nottingham. "The proposed scheme, costing about £90 million, is to widen the A453 to dual carriageway between the M1 and the Crusader roundabout on the approach to Clifton, and to four-lane single carriageway through Clifton from the Crusader roundabout to Farnborough Road, at the start of the A52 Nottingham Ring Road" (HA website).
This work is ongoing as of April 2014.
Original Author(s): Lez Watson & Adrian Bailey