|To:||Cribbs Causeway (ST577813)|
|Distance:||6.1 miles (9.8 km)|
|Meets:||A38, A4, B4051, B4466, B3129, A4176, B4468, B4054, B4056, B4055, A4162, B4055, B4057, B4055, M5, B4055|
|Old route now:||B4054|
|Route outline (key)|
The A4018 is quite an important route for Bristol, serving most of the north west of the city along with the spider's web of B-roads that criss-cross it.
It starts on the A4 next to the River Frome in the heart of Bristol and immediately runs up Park Street over a bridge over the unclassified Frog Lane to Clifton and the university buildings at the top of the hill. Here we reach what may or may not be a traffic-light-controlled TOTSO with the B4051 and we turn left into Queens Road. The road is now D2 and soon splits, with a one-way system round The Triangle, where the B4466 joins from the south. We remain D2 up to the bottom of Whiteladies Road, where the B3129 heads south to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Traffic heading south on the A4018 can use St Paul's Road to avoid having to detour down to the triangle and back for access to this road.
We now head north along Whiteladies Road, which occasionally becomes unlined S4 to provide room for turning cars, but mostly is just S2 with parked cars on both sides. We approach Durdham Downs, with a complicated one-way-system/roundabout layout where the A4176 links to the A4 to the south and the B4468 joins from Redland to the east. We are now running alongside the downs themselves, with a standard roundabout junction for the B4054.
Still heading north, we reach the junction with the B4055, which marks the original route through Westbury on Trym, but we now take the 'bypass'! You would be forgiven for wondering what benefit Falcondale Road is as we circle round Westbury. The road is lined with 'inter-war semis', which shows that even when it was built, it didn't take long for the developers to consume it as another suburban road. Along the way, both spurs of the A4162 from Seamills and the A4 meet us at traffic lights, and then a third set of lights is for the B4055 as it crosses on Henlade Road. A little further on, Greystoke Avenue (leading to Passage Road) is the other end of the bypassed route, and once more we are heading north on Passage Road.
At the junction with Charlton Road we gain extra lanes and the road becomes D2 as it climbs Brentry Hill. Southbound, one of these lanes is hatched over, but the road is now 40, later becoming 50. At the top of the hill, the B4055 (leading to the B4057) rejoins from the west at a roundabout and then Passage Road diverges to the left with Wyck Beck Road being a new alignment. After crossing the railway, we suddenly find ourselves between fields, although the massive bulk of Cribbs Causeway is looming large across them!
Passage Road makes another loop, off to the right this time, and then the B4055 joins from the left with a one-way slip, and then a roundabout for all other movements. We are now on the home straight - Cribbs Causeway itself - and the next roundabout leads to the Mall. Beyond that, there is just the final roundabout, a huge traffic-light-controlled affair under the M5, which knows it as J17, with the B4055 once more appearing to take up the northbound traffic on its way to Easter Compton and Pilning. This roundabout is extremely frustrating, with the lights often seeming to be badly timed, but it is probably more down to the sheer volume of traffic that uses it to access The Mall and the Retail Parks. Not a nice place to be on a Saturday before Christmas!
The A4018 originally ran from the centre of Bristol to Durdham Down where it split from today's route to run via what's now the B4054 as far as Avonmouth, where it morphed into the A36 for the final hundred or so yards. The A36 (later to be renumbered as an extension of the A4) was designated to run via the as-yet unbuilt Portway, so the A4018 took the main Bristol - Avonmouth traffic for a few years. After the Portway was opened in 1926, the A36 and A4018 existed together for a few years, before the A4018 was downgraded to extensions of the B4055 (to Durdham Down) and B4054 (to Avonmouth) in the early 1930s.
For many years, therefore, the A4018 was a short suburban route as far as Durdham Down, where the road ended on a B-road. The extension to the M5 appeared when the short Filton bypass section of motorway was built in 1962. This saw the A4018 take over the route of the B4055, although in a number of places the A4018 now follows a bypassed alignment, with the B4055 still existing on its original line in between.