|Distance:||1.5 miles (2.4 km)|
|Meets:||A38, A369, A370, A4|
|Route outline (key)|
Bedminster - Hotwells
The road starts at the large Parson Street gyratory system in south Bristol. This is the junction of the A38, the A4174 Avon Ring Road, the B3122 and the A3029 Winterstoke Road, all around Parson Street railway station. The A3029 forms a continuation of the A4174 ring road (although the two roads reach opposite corners of the gyratory and thus never meet) and sets off north-westwards towards Ashton Gate through light industrial and commercial areas. There are a number of roundabouts and the road switches between single- and dual-carriageway.
After passing the Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol City FC, the road enters the Ashton Gate Interchange. This junction forms part of a set of 4 grade-separated junctions between Ashton Gate and Hotwells, providing a major dual-carriageway route around this corner of Bristol; this includes a major crossing of the River Avon, and links the A3029 with the A370, A369 and A4.
The first set of slip roads links the A3029 with the A370 and A369. Now, heading northwards, the A3029 dives under the A370 and then rises up to join with the dual carriageway A370 Brunel Way. From here to the next junction, the A370 and the A3029 multiplex but it is unclear which has precedence - it's probably the A3029: some maps show this section as the A3029 and the road sign on the southbound direction shows the A370 as a junction off the A3029 (see the picture in the gallery), even though the road layout is the opposite. The whole road from the south end of Ashton Gate interchange to the northern side of the Cumberland Basin Interchange is named as Brunel Way.
The multiplex only lasts around 100 yards as the A370 leaves at the next junction which is a trumpet junction. From here onwards, the A3029 is an elevated road right up to the junction with the A4. Crossing the River Avon (new cut) on a fixed bridge, the next junction is also a trumpet and both the main route and junction route are the A3029, as the junction route provides an alternative route across Cumberland Basin when Plimsoll Bridge is open for shipping.
Immediately after the last junction is Plimsoll bridge, which is a swing bridge across the locks into Cumberland Basin. This allows tall ships to enter Bristol floating harbour. This was the original course of the River Avon before the new cut was built to allow the main river to be locked, creating the floating harbour. After the bridge is the complex Cumberland Basin Interchange with the A4. The A4 at this location is a large gyratory system with the sliproads from the A3029 joining on the inside of the gyratory, with the A3029 alternate route across Cumberland Basin, joining on the outside. Inside of the gyratory are also several residential roads with quite a few houses.
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).
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.
- Plimsoll Bridge in the open position
- Ashton Swing Bridge in original condition
- Ashton Swing Bridge with traffic
- Ashton Swing Bridge opening day