|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Thornaby on Tees (NZ454149)|
|Distance:||34.4 miles (55.4 km)|
|Meets:||A1044, A19, B1380, A1032, B1365, A172, A171, A1053, A1042, B1269, A1085, B1268, A173, B1366, B1266, B1416, B1460|
|Former Number(s):||B1267, B1266|
|Old route now:||A1130, A1032, B1380|
|Route outline (key)|
In many ways the A174 can been seen as an example of the changing fortunes and plans of the Teesside area. With sections of wildly different standards it stands as a symbol of how the Tees Valley area has changed in the last 50 years, influenced by changing industry, new housing developments, redevelopment and attempts to drive investment, it has been the victim and victor of the numerous local authority changes which have affected the area since the 1960s.
Thornaby on Tees - Lazenby
Starting in the west, the current A174 begins on the southern edge of Thornaby at traffic lights end-on on the A1044. The roads in this area have been influenced by the growth of Ingleby Barwick, one of the largest housing developments in the region, since the 1990s. There have been plans in the past to continue the route north-west of this junction, through Thornaby Wood, to meet the A66. These plans evolved over the years to produce the recently built Queen Elizabeth Way and the 1812 Way (A135), which heads north into Stockton-on-Tees town centre.
A further clue as to the former plans for the A174 can be seen at the junction with the A19 which has huge 'ski jumps' to the east of the current roundabout. These were for a third level to be added to the junction and thence continue westward as per the above plans. Built as part of the A19 bypass of Thornaby, a continuation of the A174 westward was originally part of wider plans for the roads around Teesside in the 1960s-80s. As part of the A19 widening works of the late 1990s (see DBFO section below) these ski jumps were altered and direct slip roads added at the roundabout; this has shown that any former plans for a three-level junction have now been scrapped.
The current D2 A174 between the A19 and Lazenby was built in the 1970s/80s to form a southern bypass of Middlesbrough and its environs and is known as 'The Parkway'. As well as serving the huge industry of the area, such as around Grangetown, it also acts as the main road link to Teesport. The Parkway is the main access to the massive housing developments around Coulby Newham, Eston, and Nunthorpe. There is a shopping centre in Coulby Newham called 'The Parkway Centre' after the road. Traffic for Whitby is directed off at the A172 to swing around Nunthorpe and join the A171 across the moors, 'The Moors Road'. The Parkway section of the A174 is all grade-separated until the roundabout at Lazenby.
Between the A19 and Lazenby the road has trunk status and is maintained for National Highways as part of the £30m 'A19 Dishforth - Tyne Tunnel' DBFO contract currently held by Autolink Concessionaries (A19) Ltd. The design and build part of this contract, which runs from 1997 to 2027, was to widen the A19 between the A174 junction mentioned above and Norton.
At the Greystones roundabout near Lazenby traffic for Teesport and the industry of the south Tees is directed north along the A1053 and the A174 losses both its trunk and primary status, although it remains dual.
Lazenby - Whitby
Between Lazenby and Whitby the A174 is known as 'The Coast Road', as opposed to the aforementioned 'Moors Road' of the A171, although it never gets too close to the sea. Redcar is bypassed by a decent section of D2 which then narrows to S2 for the Marske bypass; however this section was obviously built with possible widening in mind. The eastern end of the Marske bypass is at the huge Quarry Lane roundabout with the A1085. This roundabout was built so the former A174 into Marske (now the A1085) and the former B1267 could both be accommodated as until a few years ago the A174 continued straight across at the roundabout into Saltburn. It now turns right and heads south along the old B1267 towards Skelton.
Here we encounter one of the quirks of the new route as the A174 is directed up the winding Apple Orchard Bank before another roundabout TOTSO on Marske Lane where the A173 takes over as the road ahead. This is all upgraded B-road - but remains better quality than the old road through Saltburn with its steep hills and hairpin bends.
The next few miles were built in the 1990s/2000s and have very much the feel of a regional investment road designed meant to attract companies to the area: a decent S2 but with lots of roundabouts. Soon after the bypass ends and the A174 rejoins the original Coast Road and we pass the massive Skinningrove steel works, now run by TATA Steel of India, before dropping down Mill Bank and under the modern viaduct for the freight rail line to Boulby. This viaduct was built in the 1990s to improve the A174 on this steep slope and cut out a serious right-angle turn under the original Victorian railway bridge near the former Skinningrove railway station. Even with this improvement to the road we suddenly encounter a dogleg turn at the bottom of the dip before curving round and heading up Loftus Bank.
Heading through the yet to be bypassed Loftus and Easington we can see how this area around the Cleveland coast has experienced huge industrial growth and decline over the last 200 or so years. A modern working example of the area's heavy industry is the Boulby Potash Mine which is one of the largest producers of the grit used on Britain's roads every winter. Opened in the 1960s it is Europe's second deepest mine and also helped research into dark matter.
Skirting the top of Staithes, and cutting the corner on Runswick Bay the A174 heads inland and meets the B1266 which has come across from the A171 Moors Road before returning to the sea at Sandsend. At this popular tourist spot the road curves down Lythe Bank and has two 90-degree turns to cross the stream. We continue on the sea front alongside the beach. Another few miles and we reach the outskirts of Whitby. In the suburbs of Whitby the B1416 forms a kind of bypass between the A171 and A174 before they meet properly at the top of Prospect Hill. As the main route into the centre of Whitby from the A171 this final section of the A174 is often gridlocked in summer time but it's just another character of this wildly different road.
Very little of the current route of the A174 still runs on its original 1922 route.
The original western end of the A174 was at a roundabout on the A176 in Thornaby on Tees. This roundabout now connects the A1130 with the B6541. It then followed what is now the A1130 along Acklam Road, and later Mandale Road. At the end of Mandale Road, the route heads through Acklam along the now A1032 until it reaches the roundabout at Bluebell Corner.
From here, the route followed the current B1380 along Ladgate Lane, which eventually becomes Ormesby High Street. The route crosses the A172 and the A171 on this stretch. The road continued along Normanby Road, Ormesby Road, and Eston High Street, before meeting the current alignment just outside of Lazenby.
The original A174 then veered into the village of Lazenby itself, the only diversion from the current route along this stretch.
In Kirkleatham the road followed a small section of the current A1042, before turning right onto Kirkleatham Lane, and passing through the village itself, and onto Plantation Road. A section of Plantation Road has now been made into a footpath, presumably because the new alignment of the road is too close for it to be required.
In Redcar, the route crossed a roundabout with the current B1269, formerly the A1040, mere meters from the current alignment, and headed along Redcar Road all the way to Marske. Here, it turned onto the current A1085 in the town centre, at what is now a roundabout, and followed that road to Quarry Lane roundabout on the current alignment.
At Quarry Lane roundabout, named after a small lane to the south of it, the former route and the current route of the A174 cannon off each other, with the former route heading into Saltburn via Marske Road. It ran through the town, along Windsor Road, and then Glenside, then down the notorious Saltburn Bank. At the bottom, the route crossed the bridge and bore left, to head toward Brotton, where it used to end on a T-Junction near the town centre, with the A173 to the left towards Skelton, and the old B1266 to the east towards Whitby.
For the history of the section from Sandsend to Whitby including the 1865 Maharajah's Road and the 1925 upgrade see B1266.