A2 (Isle of Man)
|Length:||17.6 miles (28.3 km)|
|Meets:||A1, A47, A22, A46, A18, A38, A35, A39, A11, A15, A15, A18|
|Route outline (key)|
The A2 begins at the A1 at Quarterbridge and heads east along the leafy suburban Quarter Bridge Road. Quarter Bridge Road becomes Bray Hill at a formerly 5 way (Thorny Road is now stopped up) signalised junction with Stoney Road and the A47 Tromode Road. Bray Hill is less leafy and house frontages are closer to the road than Quarter Bridge Road. At St Ninians Crossroads, the first junction to be signalised in the Isle of Man, the A2 meets the A22. Here the A2 changes name to Glencrutchery Road. A couple of hundred yards up the road, we pass between the grandstand and pit lane that surround the start/finish line of the TT Circuit. The TT Circuit follows the A2 throughout Douglas, with race traffic going from the start/finish line to Quarterbridge, round the rest of the course and then from Governor's Bridge back to the start/finish line.
Continuing along Glencrutchery, just after the start/finish line is a junction with the B67 to the Isle of Man College. Just before the Governor's Bridge, there's a mini roundabout with the A46 Victoria Road and we reach the borough boundary as we cross the bridge itself.
Onchan - Laxey
The A2, however, heads in a straight line, getting more and more built up as it reaches Onchan village centre. There is a roundabout with the A38 from Douglas, shortly followed by two signalised T-junctions: one with the A39 for 'The NORTH via Mountain Route' (oddly the A2 has 'Ramsey, Laxey' rather than 'The NORTH') and one with the A35 which heads to the coast. The village starts petering out after this.
Then, lined with thin strips of woodland that has been cleared for fields away from the road, the road gets bendy and heads through some hills. In many places the road is in a shallow cut and a 40mph speed limit has recently been added. After a mile, the road opens out: wider and not sheltered by trees. The speed limit becomes unlimited and a mile later the A11 coast road is met, with the Manx Electric Railway that has run alongside it now running alongside the A2, crossing it at a level crossing not far from the the A11 junction. Soon after, the A2 goes through the village of Baldrine, with a 30mph limit. After turning inland and turning sharply seaward to cross a valley, the village ends. Another sharp turn just after the village, and the A2 stays away from the sea, though is now rather close to the coast, giving stunning views. It takes a little bit of time for the 30 limit to end, though despite the A2 having a scattering of houses, the restriction of speed ends.
The railway crosses on the level again, and a new 30 limit, for Ballacannell, applies. After passing through Ballacannell, without a break in urban area, there is a sign welcoming you to Laksaa with tourist directions underneath.
Laxey/Laksaa is built around a steep valley, so the A2 heads inland to stay at roughly the same altitude. The wooded feel of the road belies the urban nature of its surrounds for a while, though the trees disappear and the limit drops from 30 to 20mph as the road becomes built up. After bridging over Glen Roy the road is still heading inland, past a petrol station and a park. There is a level crossing with three tracks - two for the Manx Electric Railway that has followed us since the A11, and will continue following us, and one, that just afterwards splits into two, for the Snaefell Mountain Railway. Just afterwards, the 20mph zone ends, with a reversion to a 30mph limit at the start of the A2's (and Electric Railway's) bridge over the Laxey River. Stunning views up the valley can be seen, but don't look too long as at the east end of the bridge, there is another ungated level crossing just before a sharp right turn that takes us back to the coast. With the railway on one side, and the steep valley side on the other, the road reverts briefly to not being built up. It climbs Minorca Hill, and gets progressively more built up. The A2 meets the B1 and B11 at a crossroads, and the urban nature of the road declines again. The road is still climbing and, after some bends, the speed limit ends.
Laxey - Ramsey
Heading through gorse-edged fields the A2 is still climbing towards the sea. A left hand corner and we leave the Laxey valley and run parallel to the sea, though still climbing. After a mile and a half, there's another left hand corner, this one sharper, as the railway, and (more importantly) the coast get close to the road. Before long the road and railway (now single track) are perched on a cliff top, with another, smaller, cliff inland. A tight turn to the left and the A2 heads back inland, running along the side of Dhoon Glen. Instead of heading back out to sea, the road continues inland, contouring along the mountain side, gradually decending down Glen Mona (and through the village of the same name) into Ballaglass Glen. At Corrany, the railway heads back out to the coast and the A2 cuts the corner off, taking a hillier route to Ramsey. This hillier route begins with a gentle climb up to The Hibernian, where it meets the A15. After a brief ascent, the descent into Ramsey begins. Hugging the side of a hill, twisting and turning, it gets steeper, meeting the B19 and then flattening out again. Still hugging the curves of the hill, it meets the A15 again and once more begins to gradually descend down. Entering a wooded valley, countdown markers warn of another level crossing and, the other side of the railway, the town of Ramsey begins. After passing through Ballure, the A2 forks left onto Waterloo Road, bypassing the town centre. This road, lined with multicoloured terrace town houses is not wide enough for a centre-line and parked cars make it effective single-track. Albert Road, which takes the A2 from the railway station to its end, is a little better, though still doesn't often have a centre line. The A2 ends, at a T-junction on the A18 at the north western corner of the small triangle of green called 'Albert Square'.
The A2 was classified in the early 20s, when roads were first classified in the Isle of Man. Originally it reached Parliament Square in Ramsey, though it was truncated back by a short distance (150m) when the A18 was created. Of the original 10 A roads on the island, only the unchanged A1 and A9 have changed less.