|From:||Barnetby le Wold (TA051110)|
|Distance:||16.6 miles (26.7 km)|
|Meets:||M180, A15, A18, A160, A1173, A1136, A16, B1213, A1098, A46|
|Route outline (key)|
The A180 is the main non-motorway road in north Lincolnshire.
Constructed in ribbed textured concrete between 1981 and 1983 in two concurrent phases, it forms an eastern extension of the M180. A D2 expressway providing a vital link between the core Motorway network and the combined ports of Grimsby and Immingham, it is seemingly out-of-place, with all the other A18x routes being in and around Durham and Tyneside. However, the numbering is logical in respect to both the M180 and the A18, the latter of which the A180 substantially replaced.
Progressing eastwards from the M180 Junction 5 Barnetby Interchange the road passes under the flightpath for Humberside Airport before passing the quarry at Melton Ross with its distinctive calciners for the quarried limestone product - known locally as "the transformers". Approximately 300 m after the Race Lane overbridge, there is a seemingly random section of asphalt wearing course. This is actually an underpass constructed for the quarry, who hold the mineral rights to the land to the north of the road once the reserves to the south have been extracted.
The route is very bland, with little in the way of visual distraction. It is suspected that the droning noise and the tedium of the route with its shallow hills and gently sweeping curves is the cause of many sleep-related accidents on the route. Such were the frequency of accidents that back in 2002/2003, many of the laybys between Barnetby Interchange and Stallingborough Interchange were upgraded to physically separate them from the main carriageway.
The road passes to the south of Immingham, to which it is linked by the trunk A160 and non-primary A1173 before reaching the Grimsby urban area. The route passes through the South Humber Industrial Estate and on to the five-arm Pyewipe Roundabout, where the A180 loses its Trunk Road status and its concrete surface. This is also the first break in the derestricted speed limit.
Primary Route - Dual Expressway
Climbing up the steeply graded rise over the first of a series of three flyovers, and now under the care of North East Lincolnshire, the road passes over the both Gilbey Road and the Grimsby - Immingham freight railway line before reaching the five-arm Moody Lane Roundabout.
A 3/4 mile jaunt has the road passing over the second flyover, this time over Alexandra Dock. A quick glance to the right and a driver can see the Bascule Bridge carrying Corporation Road, a Grade 1 listed structure. Dropping down off the flyover brings the road to Lock Hill Roundabout, the northern terminus of the A16 and the end of the "new road".
Non-Primary Route - Urban
The A180 now takes over the route that used to be the A1031 and heads on to the third and final flyover, constructed in the 1960s, over the Grimsby - Cleethorpes Railway before descending to Riby Square where it meets the B1213 at the first set of traffic signals and also begins the the first stretch of very wide S2 running for little over 1/3 a mile.
After a second traffic signal junction, the road widens out again to D2 again for about 1/3 mile, which was built in 1984 as part of some minor slum clearance.
After reaching its third and final traffic signal junction on the boundary of Grimsby and Cleethorpes, the road then returns to S2 for the final, unremarkable mile or so to Isaacs Hill. The road ends at a roundabout which is also the terminus of the A46 and A1098.
Planned in the 1960s, the original A180 and its connecting roads were to be a more substantial project that what is in place today, in part as a continuation of a mooted "new town" to serve the rapid post-war development of the South Humber Petrochemical complexes and ports on the South Humber Bank area.
Originally it was planned as part of a network of D2 roads linking the M180, A160 and A18. Evidence of this planning can be seen in the seemingly arbitrary sections of D2 road on the A160 past the Humber Refinery and the D2 Aylesby bypass on the A18, which, like the A160, returns to S2 at a seemingly arbitrary place near to its locally notorious junction with the A1173 at Riby Crossroads.
The core of the route was to run on its current path to around the location of the present interchange with the A160 and then swing south to meet up with the A18 at Riby Crossroads.
A spur leading to Grimsby was to have left the route just to the east of Keelby, passing between the villages of Stallingborough and Healing, before running through a reserved way in to the South Humber Industrial Estate.
The failure to build the "new town" and the recession of the 1970s led to the abandonment of much of the plan; however the newly formed Humberside County Council continued to push for the construction of an expressway to stimulate development and ease traffic congestion on both the A18 and the A160 (which at that time ran as the A1077 from the Humber Refineries to meet the A18 at Melton Ross).
Even then the stalled planning did not end there. Stallingborough Interchange was to have had a link road constructed in a southerly direction, over the railway line, to meet the A1173 and B1210 at Stallingborough Roundabout - the missing link in the A1173 which is still extant today.
This link road was not constructed due to objections raised by English Heritage about a potential archaeological site close to the Stallingborough Roundabout; however local archaeologists have yet to find anything of significance.
The A180 was built in two parts, in slip-formed concrete. In 1981, the paving machine forming the eastbound carriageway broke the world record for the largest amount of slip-formed concrete constructed in a single day.
The A180 was also the second road non-motorway road in the UK to gain emergency telephones linked to the motorway police control room; the first being the A15 between the M180 and the Humber Bridge.
The design of the pavement was changed on the section between what are now the petrol stations at Habrough and the terminus at Pyewipe. Early life failures of the pavement between the M180 and Habrough led to this change, which was centred around the reinforcement design. Indeed, the section between Brocklesby Interchange and the M180 was heavily patched and regularly closed for repairs in many areas due to substantial pavement failures; conversely the section to the east has been relatively trouble free since opening.
Since the section between Brocklesby Interchange and Stallingborough Interchange has been resurfaced, the change is no longer evident. However prior to the resurfacing, there was a barely perceptible yet distinct bump and change of tone in the surfacing texture.
Originally the road was opened without central barriers in 1982 (Barnetby to Brocklesby) - 1983 (Brocklesby - Pyewipe); however after a number of fatal crossover accidents involving HGVs, a central barrier was added in 1989. The section under the control of North East Lincolnshire Council does not have central barriers.
The two flyovers constructed in Grimsby as part of the 1983 works suffered continuously in their early life from settlement of the approach roads and also old dock and industrial workings. Patches on the approaches to the expansion joints as well as on the approach to Moody Lane Roundabout are evidence of this.
The drainage calculations for the channels on the section between Moody Lane and Lock Hill were erroneous and were never checked by Humberside County Council prior to construction. This has led to the carriageway having an oscillating feel when travelling at speed as the channel rises and falls at and between each gully on the nearside.