From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Length:||66.6 miles (107.2 km)|
|Meets:||A64(M), A61, A1(M), A19, A1079, A166, A170, A165|
|Now part of:||A659, A1036|
|Leeds • Scarborough • York|
|Route outline (key)|
The A64 is one of the few two-digit A-roads that I can think of that actually performs its duty as a major road for all of its length and is also about the right length for most traffic to use a significant amount of it!
Leeds - York
The A64 number starts in the centre of Leeds at the point where the A58 turns off the A58(M) on the Inner Ring Road (creating a TOTSO for A58 traffic); the Inner Ring Road becomes the A64(M). However, this road is short lived, and soon becomes the A64 proper where the sliproad merges from the Woodpecker Junction. Oddly, the A64 here at York Road has three lanes each way, while the A64(M) has only two.
The six-lane superhighway bombs out of Leeds (damn good road into and out of the city), grade-separated all the way, until it slams into the traffic lights at Harehills Road, and the B6159 begins its multiplex for a mile or so. From here to the Ring Road there are guided bus lanes down the middle of the dual-carriageway, and we drop to two lanes each way.
After about another mile there's a big traffic light controlled junction where the B6159 ends its multiplex and forks off to the right along the original western end of the A63, and we carry on through traffic lights, traffic lights, traffic lights and traffic lights until we finally hit the A6120 Ring Road, and we multiplex with it for about half a mile uphill to the next roundabout to the north (the A6120 is the signed road here). This (November 2008) remains a surprising survival of NSL in an urban environment. The dual-carriageway stops rather disappointingly from here and we tootle on along a single-carriageway road for several miles until the roundabout on the A1(M) (not good for the main road to the motorway from north Leeds).
After this roundabout, we return to two-lane dual carriageway. The Highways Agency is fighting to shut off lots of the little side roads along this, because the only dual carriageway to York still has a couple of right turns along the way. There are some grade-separated junctions, on the Tadcaster bypass, built in the late 1970s. The former A64 through Tadcaster is now called the A659.
Once you pass the signs for "YORK" and the A1237, it's sub-motorway standard all the way. This is the best bit – fast and quieter with every junction, especially since the Copmanthorpe traffic lights were removed in 2002. We join the York ring road where the A1237 turns off; that road (of much poorer quality than the A64) forms the northern half whereas we go round the south. There's a junction with the A1036 which was the former A64 through York, after which we continue along the York Bypass built in 1976 and has GSJs with the A19, A1079, and A166. Things go superbly until we slam, once again, into a roundabout, namely the Hopgrove Roundabout, at the end of the York bypass. This is where the A64 re-meets the A1036 and A1237. From here, the dual carriageway dries up once again, and we move on in a stream of traffic along the dull sections (no villages even) to the edge of the Vale of York.
York - Scarborough
You know when you hit the edge of the Vale of York because you are unceremoniously tipped off the edge and into a series of steep climbs and drops, helped along by a few miles of dual carriageway through the worst bits. This ends again (though it seems pretty clear that it was meant to connect up as dual-carriageway from York to Malton one day). We tootle on a little longer in single-carriageway dullness (and it is dull – there's nothing on this bit at all) until the dual-carriageway Malton Bypass – a great bit of road, once again grade-separated and empty too – the traffic evaporates once you hit it. The Malton bypass was built in 1979, and the former A64 is now the B1248.
We cross the A169 (very lonely road) and then go back to single-carriageway again, once the bypass ends, on to a much more enjoyable section. It's usually quieter and with nicer scenery. We pass the Ham and Cheese Inn at Scagglethorpe (I'm not making this up, honest: Lonewolf provides the evidence here.) and then the Flower Cafe at Rillington, just after the traffic lights. From here if you look north you'll see a valley running parallel, and on the far side the A170. After a while, we pass through West and then East Heslerton, "Welcome, please drive carefully." where there is nothing at all and then another set of lights at Sherburn, after which there's a very very long factory building on the left belonging to Ward Building Components Ltd. (They make the girders and panels that make up modern industrial buildings).
After this it's a nice drive through Ganton (where the pub appears on the brown tourist signs for some reason) and then past another set of lights at he start of the Staxton bypass to end at a roundabout with the A1039. You can stay at a holiday camp here if you're so inclined. The A64 turns north rather suddenly here, and to another roundabout with the B1261 and the Seamer bypass begins, the former A64 being the B1261. The A64 goes round towards Scarborough and passes through the industrial area of Seamer and around a roundabout before meeting the B1261 at another roundabout. From here the road joins it old alignment and starts slowing into Scarborough and runs through a few sets of traffic lights. It turns right at one of these, where it meets the A170 (and just misses the A171 coast road) to end at another set on the A165 between the theatre and the station.
Improvements east of York
As detailed above, the majority of the road east of York, with the notable exception of the Malton bypass, is single carriageway and in the early 1990s proposals were drawn up by the Department of Transport which would have seen the road dualled between the Hopgrove Roundabout and the start of the then recently opened Seamer bypass. The plans were for the road to follow the current alignment between York and Malton but east of Malton, a new road would have been built which for the most part it would have run parallel to the York - Scarborough railway line. The current A64 would have been retained a local access road. However these plans were shelved in the late 1990s. Now, the only possible improvement to the road might be a bypass of the village of Rillington as dualling the road east of York is now seen as unrealistic on cost grounds.