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A3029

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A3029
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (39)
From:  Hotwells (ST575706)
To:  Hartcliffe (ST567724)
Distance:  3.3 miles (5.3 km)
Meets:  A4, A370, A369, A38, A4174
Former Number(s):  B3122, A4174
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Bristol

Traditional Counties

Gloucestershire • Somerset

Route outline (key)
A3029 Hotwells - Hartcliffe
This article is about the current A3029, which is located in Bristol.
For a defunct A3029, which was a short link in Wiltshire and is now a spur of the A342, see A3029 (Upavon)
.


Route

The A3029 is a short but heavily-used link between Bristol's artery roads to the west and south, connecting the A4 on the north bank of the river Avon with the A370, A369 and A38 to the southwest of the city centre. In 2017, as part of the completion of the A4174 Avon Ring Road, it was extended over the old route of the A4174 to meet the southern section of the Ring Road in Hartcliffe, almost doubling its previous length.

Hotwells - Bedminster

A3029 Winterstoke Road

The road begins at a large gyratory system with the A4 in Hotwells beside the river Avon. Whether travelling southeast from the Avon Gorge or west from Bristol city centre, rising slip roads from inside the gyratory lift the nascent A3029 up to the dual-carriageway Plimsoll Swing Bridge, built in the 1960s to cross the the Cumberland Basin at the mouth of Bristol's Floating Harbour. When the bridge is swung open (which happens quite frequently to allow tall ships to enter the harbour), an unsigned spur of the A3029 takes traffic instead from the outside of the gyratory across the low and narrow Junction Swing Bridge at the other end of the Basin.

Both routes join up after the Plimsoll Bridge to take the A3029 on an elevated route over the main course of the river Avon (the "New Cut", dug in the early 19th century to create the Floating Harbour) and along Brunel Way. Driving north, the views up the Avon gorge to the Clifton Suspension Bridge are magnificent. The A370, which has lined the south bank of the river from the city centre, now rises to meet the A3029 at a trumpet junction and multiplexes with it high above Greville Smyth Park. Maps are unclear which road has precedence; one sign on the ground implies it is the A370. Anyway, the matter is swiftly resolved as we reach the Ashton Gate interchange. The A370 bends away right to begin the Long Ashton bypass on its route to Weston-super-Mare, and then almost immediately the A369 also curves off right to Bower Ashton, Abbots Leigh and ultimately Portishead. For a long time there was a sign here to "Well (A37)" - a singular cathedral city - but sadly this has recently been corrected.

Following the A3029 left through this complex interchange brings you gradually back to ground level. Bristol City's Ashton Gate stadium has been visible across Greville Smyth Park and now appears behind DIY superstores on the left-hand side. On match days the traffic will have ground to a halt long since, with cars parked all along Brunel Way and in every other available crevice. The A3029 continues as Winterstoke Road past the stadium over a series of roundabouts through light industrial and commercial areas, switching between single- and dual-carriageway, and up to another large gyratory in Bedminster, constructed around Parson Street railway station. Here it meets the A38 from Bristol Airport and the B3122 Bedminster Road.

Bedminster - Hartcliffe

Until 2017 the A3029 ended here. In practice it used to act as an ill-fitting part of the Avon Ring Road: traffic from the incomplete southern section of the Ring was forced up the A4174 to the Parson Street gyratory, and then along the A3029 to reach the A370 and points west. All that changed when the South Bristol Link Road was finally opened, joining the Ring Road directly to the A38 and A370 further south. The new road naturally took the A4174 Avon Ring Road number, so the A3029 now continues from the gyratory along the old A4174, first as Parson Street and then Hartcliffe Way. After passing numerous trading estates and business parks, the road reaches the green space of the Western Slopes and Novers Hill - though this is now threatened by new housing developments. It opens out, gains a bus lane and wooded verges, and passes the nature reserve of Crox Bottom. Houses and shopping only re-emerge as the road reaches its new end on the completed Ring Road, a huge roundabout on the A4174 Hengrove Way. Go right along the ring road for Bishopsworth, Chew Valley and the airport; left takes you to Hengrove, Brislington and ultimately Keynsham.


History

Ashton Swing Bridge

What is now the A3029 was originally numbered as part of the B3122. At Ashton Gate, the road crossed the A370 at a flat crossroads and followed the course of today's A3029 - the A370 went along the south side of Greville Smyth park along Ashton Road and Coronation Road before rejoining today's route. At the north-west corner of Greville Smyth Park, where today there is a trumpet junction between the A3029 and A370, the B3122 headed north-eastwards to cross the River Avon (new cut) on Ashton Swing Bridge.

Ashton Swing Bridge was built as a joint venture between the council and the Great Western Railway. The bridge had a double track railway at the lower level and the single-carriageway road on the upper deck. It was built by John Lysaght and Co, at a cost of £70,389 and opened on the 3rd October 1906 by the Lady Mayoress, Mrs A.J. Smith. The swing span is 202ft long and weighs 1000 tons. It was last swung in the 1950s and the road deck was closed in 1965 following the opening of Plimsoll Bridge.

After Ashton Swing Bridge, the then-B3122 would drop down the ground level, along what is now Ashton Avenue, and then cross the inner lock of the Cumberland Basin on the Merchants Road Swing bridge. This was built in 1925 by William Cowlin & Son ltd., with machinery supplied by Sir W.G.Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd of Newcastle upon Tyne. As Ashton Swing bridge was opened in 1906, it is presumed that there was an earlier bridge at this point but nothing is known of this. Finally, the B3122 split in two and headed northwards and westwards to join the A4, along what is now two sides of the A4 gyratory system (the northern side being the original route of the A4).

Cumberland Basin before the new road scheme

By the 1950s, this route was heavily used and was serious bottleneck to traffic through Bristol. It was therefore decided to build a new, dual-carriageway route between Ashton Gate and Cumberland Basin, with new bridges over Cumberland Basin, the local railways and the River Avon. As the route crossed two navigable rivers and a railway, it was subject to parliamentary approval as well as requiring money from central government (£1.7 million). As there were other major schemes going on in Bristol at the same time (A4044 Inner circuit phase 3, Bedminster bridge), there was some debate about this scheme, but it was finally approved in 1960. Work started in 1961/62 and the new road opened in 1965.

At Ashton Gate, a new bridge over the Portishead Branch Line was built to take the rerouted A370, with the original bridge becoming the A3029 to A369 sliproad and a link to the A370. The old B3122 became the southbound side of the A3029, whilst a new carriageway was added for the northbound side, involving the demolition of a few properties. The underpass from the A3029 to the new road was built on surplus railway lands. At the new A370 junction the new route diverged from the old road and ran northwards as an elevated road, as the land below was set aside as floodplain for the River Avon. A new fixed bridge was built across the River Avon (new cut), replacing the Ashton Swing Bridge, and Plimsoll Bridge was built across the outer locks of Cumberland Basin. Finally, the Cumberland Basin interchange was built involving the demolition of a number of properties.

The building of this new route was relatively trouble free and involved little disruption to existing traffic as that still used the old route. Once the new route was opened, the section of old road south of Ashton Swing Bridge was removed and landscaped, whilst the road across Ashton Swing Bridge was removed along with the approach roads. It was originally intended to close the Merchants Road Swing bridge across the inner Cumberland Basin, but due to initial teething troubles with Plimsoll Bridge, it was decided to keep the old bridge as a diversionary route.

It is unclear whether the new road was opened as the A3029, or whether it was renumbered afterwards. The Geographia map of central Bristol, published shortly after the new road was opened, shows the road still as the B3122, but this could be a mapping error (the map also shows some railways closed by that time). Certainly, the road was numbered as the A3029 by the end of the 1960s.

There were plans to extend this route southwards from Ashton Gate towards Clevedon as the South Bristol spur motorway. The A370 Long Ashton bypass was built on the route of this road, but the plan was cancelled in 1974 by the incoming Avon County Council.


Links

Flickr photos



A3029
Junctions
Crossings
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (39)
Ashton Gate3.jpgA3029-5.jpgCumberland Basin Interchage4.jpgAshton Swing Bridge4.jpgCumberlandBasin.jpg
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