|Length:||41 miles (66 km)|
|Meets:||A11, B134, B108, A1203, B121, A101, A1205, A1261, A1206, A12, A102, A1261, B125, B164, A124, A1011, A112, A117, A1020, A406, A123, A1153, A1306, A1311, A1306, M25, A282, A126, A1012, A1089, A128, A1013, A1014, B1007, A176, B1420, B1464, A132, A130, B1006, A129, B1014, A1158, B1015, A127, A1160, A1159, B1017, B1016|
|Former Number(s):||A118, A124|
|Old route now:||A1306, A1013, B1464|
|Route outline (key)|
Essex! Land of Ford Capris, wideboys, girls of easy virtue, and unpleasant industries. The image is a little unfair - particularly north of the A12 Essex is actually quite posh. But the A13 runs through the middle of the traditional east end, and on to the great playground of the East-enders, Southend. Essex has earned its reputation through an accident of geography. Being not only downstream of London, but also downwind, it was the ideal place to put those necessary but rather unsavoury functions essential to a modern city - sewage, gasworks, oil refineries, etc. The docks are also here. The fares policy of the Great Eastern Railway in the Victorian era, and its associated house-building programme - essentially pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap - encouraged the artisan class to flock to that end of the metropolitan area. (The same area of land could house either one first class season ticket holder, or a dozen third class. Do the sums). As the docks started to decline, the Ford Motor Company moved in, and the Capri-driving Essex Man image was complete.
London – Thurrock
The A13 London-Shoeburyness Road begins at what used to be London’s Aldgate one-way system, where the A11 and the Inner Ring Road also meet. Now it is just a T-junction. The A13 heads eastward along the Commercial Road, theoretically S4, but spoilt by bus lanes in both directions. At Limehouse, Butcher Row leads south to connect with the A1203 Limehouse Link, the D2 tunnel which along with the A1261 Aspen Way acts as a by-pass for both Commercial Road, and the East India Dock Road, as the A13 is known to the east of the A1206/A1205 junction at Westferry. The East India Dock Road crosses over the A12/A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, just to the north of the north portal, with full access to both carriageways, albeit lights-controlled. East of this junction, there's a brief stretch of D2 (plus bus lane) before the junction with the D2 East India Dock Link tunnel, an eastern extension of the A1261. This was full opened only in December 2003, and the junction was in fact remodelled to provide direct free-flow access into/from the A13. This makes eminent sense (despite a lack of signs saying ‘The City A1261’) – there are no less than SIXTEEN sets of lights (junctions/pedestrian crossings) between Butcher Row and the A1261 junction via the A13, but only ONE via Aspen Way and the Limehouse Link tunnel!
The East India Dock Link and East India Dock Road subsequently merge on the bridge over the River Lea to give a nice continuous D3 grade-separated stretch via the Canning Town flyover (junction with A124/A1011 to East Ham/West Ham), Prince Regent Lane underpass (A112 Stratford/Royal Docks), and Beckton flyover (A117 East Ham/Woolwich Ferry), all upgraded or completed during 2003/2004 with remodelled carriageways, new lighting and central reserve barriers. It could well be deemed a not-motorway, though there are side-roads, and adjacent footpath/cycletracks. Between the Beckton junction and the A406 junction, it's briefly D4, but two lanes are lost to the junction with the North Circular Road and the A1020 Royal Docks Road. However the road regains its D3 status to the east of the A406, and remains so via the new underpass under the Movers Lane/River Road junction south of Barking, which marks the eastern limit of the recent upgrade. Over the bridge across the Barking-Grays railway, the A13 is still D3, but with an S4 flyover above the Lodge Avenue junction (A123/A1153). This section apparently won't be upgraded until 2020! Incidentally the A13 between Canning Town and Lodge Avenue was built as the East Ham and Barking By-pass decades ago, the original route running via the A124 to Barking, then A123. To the east of Lodge Avenue, the A13 regains D3, but the other oddity in this area is the Renwick Road junction. This allows eastbound traffic to freely flow past the right-turn, but westbound traffic has to stop at lights to allow traffic to turn right into Renwick Road.
Passing just one more side-road eastbound, the A13 then approaches the Ripple Road junction at Dagenham, where an all-new alignment by-passing Dagenham and Rainham was completed in 1998/1999. The old alignment is now numbered A1306. The new all-D3 stretch has new lighting, is largely elevated, and has good claim to be a not-motorway, with no side-roads or adjacent pedestrian access, though it lacks a hard-shoulder. Two further junctions with the Marsh Way spur linking the A1306 with Fords Works, and Ferry Lane linking Rainham with industrial estates to the south, and then a long causeway over the Grays railway, and the Rainham and Wennington Marshes. The new A13 actually crosses the A1306 at Wennington, though the new road goes under not over here, before taking a graceful arc south of Aveley. By now, we have left Greater London and are in Essex. And the next junction is with the M25. This junction has an interesting history. When the M25 was first built, there was no Wennington-Dagenham section, and so the A13 ended at an incomplete flyover over the M25 J30 roundabout. Traffic had to head to/from the south and join/leave the (now) A1306 alignment at J31. The flyover, of course, wasn’t completed until 1998/99, but it was only provided with D2 capacity, so there's a lane drop/gain either side of the M25.
Thurrock – Shoeburyness
East of the M25 is a much older stretch of A13, with older style orange lighting (though these are being replaced), and an unusual lane-drop/gain either side of the next junction, with the A126, built only with west-facing sliproads. This is a D2 road leading to Grays and Lakeside Regional Shopping Centre. The A13 is D2 beneath the A126 bridge, but with hatching, and this opens out to D3 east of the junction. It retains its D3 capacity through the next two junctions, namely with the other access to Grays, the A1012 (roundabout above A13, with the eastern end of the A1306 ending at another roundabout just to the south), and the trumpet junction with the A1089, the D2 route leading south to Tilbury Docks. There is one final lane drop for the next junction to the east, that with the A128 towards Brentwood and the A1013, the original route of the A13 linking Grays with Stanford-le-Hope. This and most subsequent junctions are roundabouts above the D2 A13. The A1014 is the next turn-off, leading eastward through Stanford-le-Hope to Shell Haven at Coryton. The original line of the A13 is now the unclassified Southend Road, though it is numbered B1420 by the time it meets the next A13 junction, with the A176 and B1464. The former heads north to Basildon, whilst the latter is the original route through Pitsea. The only side-roads on the dual section of the A13 outside London are on the westbound carriageway to the east of the A176 junction, both directly leading to level crossings (the Grays-Southend railway runs just to the south). The last fully grade-separated junction on the A13 is the Pitsea flyover, passing above the Basildon-Southend rail-line and the roundabout where the A132 (leading to eastern Basildon) meets a spur from the B1464.
Thirty miles of near-fully grade-separated dual carriageway (including Limehouse Link and Aspen Way) end just a mile to the east at the Sadler’s Hall Farm magic roundabout, where the A13 loses its primary (and dual) status to the A130, leading northwards to the A127 (the only primary route to the A13’s next major destination, Southend), and eventually to Chelmsford. The A130 continues south of the roundabout(s) to Canvey Island as a non-primary. The B1464 ends here too, as the A13 east of here is non-dual (for the most part) along its original route. It passes through what are essentially the western suburbs of Southend: Hadleigh (where the road meets the A129 from Rayleigh to the north), Leigh-on-Sea, Chalkwell (where separate one-way A1158 roads link the A13 to the A127), and Westcliff. Subsequently it reaches central Southend, with a first roundabout enabling it to by-pass the central shopping area as the Queensway (mostly D2), and at a second roundabout it is joined from the north by the A127 and briefly regains primary status. However it TOTSOs at the next junction, actually grade-separated, with the Queensway heading south as the A1160 towards the sea-front. The A13 heads east out the other side of Southend through Southchurch, meeting the A1159, the road from Southend Airport (to the north) at the next roundabout. Two roundabouts later it turns sharply south, and after two more roundabouts finally ends up in Shoeburyness with an end-on junction with the B1016, to the west of the station, which also marks the terminus of the rail-route from London.
The A13 has run on the same basic route since inception, aside from various bypasses. The earliest, the East Ham and Barking Bypass, was one of the first motor traffic bypasses in the 20th century; it originally opened as A118, before being renumbered as A13 around 1951.
The original route of the A13 ran between Wennington and Stifford on what's now the B1335 through Aveley. It had moved to the Purfleet and West Thurrock Arterial Road by 1927.
The eastern end of the A13 has been slightly truncated - it originally continued to end outside Shoeburyness Railway Station.