|Location Map ( geo)
|Spalding, Boston, Louth
|82.8 miles (133.3 km)
|A47, A1175, A151, A17, A52, A158, A1028, A18, A46, A180
|Route outline (key)
The A16 is a major road running the length of Lincolnshire. For much of its life it began in Stamford, and ran through Spalding, Boston, and Louth on its way to Grimsby. During the early twenty-first century, however, it was rerouted to begin at Peterborough. It is quite rare among F99 roads for being one of only sixteen that maintain green-signed primary route status throughout its entire length (the others are the A12, A14, A17, A22, A42, A43, A45, A53, A55, A75, A78, A83, A84, A86, and A87.).
Section 1: Peterborough - Boston
The road starts on a roundabout with the A47 just east of its junction with the A15 to the north-east of Peterborough. It strikes out in a north-easterly direction, initially subject to a 40mph limit due to a signal-controlled crossing for a cycleway, before entering the open countryside and becoming NSL. It crosses the Car Dyke (a Roman canal generally considered to mark the western periphery of the Fens, and in parts a scheduled ancient monument) by bridge, the opening of which was delayed by geological problems in the embankments, on a new-build stretch of S2 road with narrow hard shoulders.
The first 15 miles of the road are fairly straight, with only long sweeping curves and little apparent undulation, as it crosses the Lincolnshire Fens. About half-way between Peterborough and Crowland, the A16 crosses over the B1443 at a roundabout, that route passing across our path between Peakirk to the west and Thorney to the east. Upon reaching Crowland, the route bypasses the town to the east, with three roundabouts connecting to the settlement which is home to Croyland Abbey and the Trinity Bridge. The road then strikes north to bypass Cowbit, also passing that village to the east, before turning north-west to arrive at Spalding.
On the Spalding bypass, the A16 meets the A1175, which has taken over its original itinerary from Stamford. At the roundabout, the road straight ahead is the B1173 into Spalding town centre, so our route turns acutely to the right to follow the main line of the Spalding bypass, which loops around the eastern side of the town roughly in line with the Coronation Canal. At the half-way point on the bypass, another roundabout connects to the B1165 which zig-zags off the east across the Fens, while an unclassified road allows access to the town centre. A third roundabout sees the A151 cross the A16 on its way from Spalding to Holbeach. Just after the route crosses the River Welland, a fourth roundabout brings the bypass to an end at the point where the B1180 departs for Pinchbeck.
From here, the A16 takes an almost completely straight trajectory north-north-east, passing Spalding Golf Club and crossing the River Glen before arriving at yet another roundabout. From here, the A152 strikes out west towards Donington and the A52. After a few miles of modern road so straight it would have made the Romans proud, the route meets the A17 at the large five-arm Sutterton roundabout. The A17 heads west towards Sleaford and east to its terminus at King's Lynn. An unclassified road leads from the roundabout into Sutterton village, while there is also access to the facilities at Sutterton truck stop. The A16 itself continues along its stubbornly straight alignment, passing to the east of Kirton, accessed by yet another roundabout. The long straight section of the route between Spalding and Boston is probably the longest stretch of railway-to-new road conversion in the country, at around 12 miles' length.
Eventually, Boston Football Club comes into view, providing a clear sign that we are arriving at the famous Lincolnshire market town. The road enters the historic settlement through the suburbs, crossing through further roundabouts and even a short section of urban dual-carriageway and bridging the romantically-named South Forty Foot Drain before meeting the A52.
Section 2: Boston - Grimsby
Both the A16 (signposted) and the A52 (hidden) cross the River Witham as they multiplex through the middle of Boston on a little bypass called John Adams Way. This 40mph dual-carriageway goes round the back of the market square, the Boston Guildhall, and 'The Green’ (a wonderful place to buy anything on market day - Wednesday - and convenient for the nearby Maud Foster Mill, a 200-year-old windmill which is one of the largest still operating in England, selling organically-grown stone-ground flour). The mini-bypass is interrupted by several sets of traffic lights and usually occupied by a traffic jam; a constant surprise to Lincolnshire folk who are not generally familiar with congestion on this side of the county. One set of lights controls the turning for the short A1138, a short access road for the Port of Boston (not to be confused with the one in Massachusetts).
The mini-bypass ends at the large Bargate Roundabout, where the road ahead is the A1137. Here the A16 (and its secret partner the A52) turns right to run on its original alignment for the first time. Immediately, it crosses over the Maud Foster Drain with one last gasp of dual-carriageway before the central reservation disappears and we head out of town along Spilsby Road. As we leave the urban area, we arrive at the Burton Corner mini-roundabout, which is located right next to the Pilgrim Hospital (the hospital is the largest structure in the Fens, which can be seen from many miles around, and which is named for the Pilgrim Fathers of Mayflower fame). This is where the A52 parts company with us, bound for its long meander up the Lincolnshire coast; interestingly, even though it is the A52 which actually heads to Skegness, the A16 is the road signposted for the seaside town, together with its true destination: Grimsby.
After leaving Boston, the A16 crosses some of Britain's best farmland, passing through the villages of Sibsey and Stickney which, unlike so many other villages along the route, have not yet been not bypassed, and it also passes close to Stickford, which has. After Keal Cotes the Lincolnshire Wolds come into view. At West Keal a T-junction to the left sees the A155 turn off for Coningsby, and the road then becomes uncharacteristically twisty as it climbs towards East Keal. At Spilsby, the A16 previously passed straight through the centre of the town, but now avoids most of the settlement by passing to its west. After Spilsby, the road descends again towards the Partney roundabout, where the A158 crosses our path, taking holiday traffic from Lincoln to Skegness. Our road heads north on a new straight-line bypass of Partney village and some double bends that marked the old road, before rejoining its original alignment at the bottom of Dalby Hill. The A16 then climbs again to the top of the Wolds and Ulceby Cross, where there is a roundabout with a filling station and a small motel. This point has probably been a significant crossroads for ever, the Roman road from Lincoln to the sea at Wainfleet heading south-east from here as the A1028, while A1104 continues ahead towards Mablethorpe (and from which the famous A1111 branches at Alford).
The A16 turns left at Ulceby Cross and heads north-west for Louth along the Bluestone Heath Road, an ancient British trackway, which winds its way along the ridges of the Wolds. This road has broad sweeping curves, substantial but not excessive gradients. Perhaps not surprisingly, this attractively fast stretch of road is one of the most dangerous in the whole of Lincolnshire, having witnessed a number of fatal accidents, particularly near Swaby.
The lovely little Georgian town of Louth is well worth a detour, although for those disinclined to do so, it was bypassed to the west in the 1991-2 financial year at a cost of £5.6m. The bypass carrying the A16 multiplexes with the A157, which arrives from the direction of Mablethorpe to the east and shares a couple of miles of tarmac with our route before departing in the westerly direction of Lincoln. The original course of the A16 through Louth town centre is now the B1520.
To the north of Louth, the A16 enters the home stretch. It was realigned to bypass Fotherby in 2002, and Ludborough during the early 1990s; however, the village of Utterby, which lies between those two locations, has not been bypassed, to the bewilderment of Utterby folk. It is at Ludborough that the A16 meets the eastern terminus of the A18, which strikes out north-west towards Scunthorpe and the M180. On the final approach to Grimsby, our route once again occupies the course of a former railway, the Louth to Grimsby line. This section, called Peaks Parkway, was opened in the late 1990s to the dismay of railway restoration society, but it has relieved a lot of congestion through Scartho. Shortly after entering the urban area, the A16 crosses the mighty A46 at a signalised staggered crossroads, and then the A1136, before running parallel with the mouth of the River Freshney for its final half mile.
Original Author(s): Martyn; revised by Owain
The A16 originally started on what was the A1 in Stamford at Red Lion Square. From there it ran along what is now the A1175, crossing the East Coast Mainline at Tallington, and passing through Market Deeping and Spalding, before heading north along its current route towards Boston.
In 2002, Lincolnshire County Council and Peterborough City Council agreed on a joint proposal to redirect the southern end of the A16 onto a new-build road between Peterborough and Spalding. This was due to increasing commercial and private traffic, local lorry bans, and level crossing delays on the original section of A16 between Stamford and Spalding, as well as the poor quality of the then A1073 between Peterborough and Spalding, thereby making access to Spalding easier for HGVs.
This scheme resulted in the construction of a superior road from Peterborough to Spalding, which bypassed the entire alignment of the former A1073, which had passed through Crowland and Cowbit, and which is now mostly unclassified. The project included a new bridge over the Car Dyke Roman waterway, and was fully opened as the new A16 in 2011.
The original course of the old A16 between Stamford and Boston is now carved up into the A1175, B1172 (Luck's Bridge-Spalding), B1356 (Spalding-Pinchbeck-Surfleet), A152 (Surfleet-Gosberton) and B1397 (Gosberton-Sutterton-Kirton-Wyberton-Boston).
Fun fact: prior to the opening of its many bypasses, the A16 had stretches of roughly 16 miles between each of its main towns.
Dates for all new bypass sections, with associated maps, can be seen at A16/Improvements Timeline
- The A16 Trunk Road (Stamford to North East Lincolnshire) (Detrunking) Order 2002 - This order removes trunk status from the entire route, following the review of trunk roads in 1998