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Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Bordesley, Birmingham (SP085861)
To:  Thrapston (TL004778)
Via:  Coventry, Daventry, Northampton, Wellingborough
Distance:  75.8 miles (122 km)
Meets:  A4540, A4040, M42, A452, A4114, A429, A46, A444, A423, A445, M45, A361, A5 M1, A43, A6, A14
Former Number(s):  A605
Old route now:  A14, A154, A4500, B645
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

National Highways • Birmingham • Coventry • North Northamptonshire • West Northamptonshire • Solihull • Warwickshire

Traditional Counties

Northamptonshire • Warwickshire • Worcestershire

Route outline (key)
A45 Birmingham - Dunchurch
(M45) Dunchurch Bypass
A45 Dunchurch - Upper Heyford
(M1) Upper Heyford - Collingtree
A45 Collingtree - Thrapston
A45 Rushden - Felixstowe
This article is about the primary road in England.
For the similarly numbered road in Northern Ireland, see A45 (Northern Ireland)

In its heyday, the A45 ran from the centre of Birmingham all the way out to Felixstowe, and was a vitally important route from the Midlands to the East Anglian coast, and all points beyond towards the Benelux countries via ferry. Following the introduction of the A14 (the offspring of the A45 and A604), the current route of the A45 is brutally truncated and runs for less than half its original length, though it still provides an important link from Birmingham, Coventry, and Leamington to Northampton and the M1, for those wishing to avoid the M6.


Birmingham - Dunchurch

It starts in Bordesley on the A4540 Birmingham Middleway ring road, and heads out eastwards past Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre, where it passes the M42 and the Motorcycle Museum at the Bickenhill Interchange. Almost immediately the A452 is crossed at Stonebridge Interchange and the A45 bypasses the village of Meriden.

Just before the road enters Coventry, the A45 swings off in a more southerly alignment along the Coventry southern ring road (the route straight ahead, the A4114, is the pre-bypass line of the A45). Whilst this bit is still dual carriageway, it is very much amongst urban Coventry, and queues are commonplace at the signalised junction with the A429 (which was previously the A46). After this, things pick up again as the road heads out of the urban area, picks up the northbound A46 at Stivichall Interchange, and drops it off again a few miles later at the Tollbar End roundabout. For many years, this was a notoriously busy junction listed on's Bad Junctions list, as both A45 through traffic and through traffic on the A46 multiplex needed to use it. However, the A46 now has an underpass that allows it to avoid the roundabout, and thus for A45 traffic the roundabout is now mostly just another junction.

A4071 Junction, Dunchurch

After this, the A45 meets the northern terminus of the A423, then passes the villages of Ryton-on-Dunsmore and Wolston. Next, it speeds through lots of open flat fields, and is a nice fast drive on a sunny day. The ancient Fosse Way is crossed at a roundabout near the village of Stretton-on-Dunsmore, and at the curiously shaped Blue Boar Interchange the A4071 leaves for Rugby. Shortly after, it meets the M45 at an elongated roundabout, the Thurlaston Interchange. The A45 then multiplexes with the M45, passing Draycote Water on the right, and picks up again the other side of Dunchurch. The parallel B4429 remained part of the A45 until the 1980s when an extra junction was built on the M45 to allow Dunchurch to be bypassed.

Dunchurch - Wellingborough

From here to the M1, the A45 drops back to two-lane single carriageway, with hatching in places, as it heads towards Daventry. A maze of roundabouts takes the road round the Daventry bypass where it multiplexes with the mighty A361. Overtaking is not allowed on this section as the centre of the road is hatched over, which can lead to frustration. However, the size of bridges it passes under clearly give the impression an upgrade to dual carriageway was under consideration. Presumably the A14 put paid to that idea. Past Daventry, the A45 is still single carriageway, though the road is quite wide and there are numerous opportunities for overtaking tractors.

At Weedon, the A45 crosses the A5 at a new roundabout as part of the Daventry Development Link Road instead of the original crossroads just to the south where the two roads used to meet. A few miles beyond, we meet the M1 at junction 16. Here, the A45 used to continue over the other side of the junction, but this has now been renumbered as the A4500. Here, the road multiplexes with the M1 down to junction 15, where it continues into Northampton on part of the old A508. This section has high quality sections of D2 and D3 dual carriageway, with GSJs. We carry on along the Nene Valley Way, through Northampton and up to a roundabout in Wellingborough.

Wellingborough - Thrapston

The road carries on after the roundabout, with some LILO junctions, grade separated junctions, and a couple of roundabouts thrown into the mix. It carries the A509 on a multiplex, bypassing Wellingborough, and then continuing to bypass Rushden. At this point, the original A45 headed out eastwards towards St Neots on a rather slow stretch of road, now numbered as the B645. The modern A45 continues northwards alongisde the Nene wetlands, crossing the A6 near Irthlingborough and dropping to single carriageway after a roundabout at Stanwick. It then carries on to meet the A14 (previously A604) at junction 13 near Thrapston. The road after the A14 continues as the A605.


The A45 is one of just sixteen F99 routes that have the distinction of maintaining green-signed primary route status throughout its entire length. The others are the A12, A14, A16, A17, A22, A42, A43, A53, A55, A75, A78, A83, A84, A86, and A87.


A45 historic route from 1922/3 numbering

Original start of the A45 in Birmingham

The original (1922) route of the A45 started at the junction of Bordesley High Street (then the A41, now the B4100) and Coventry Road. It then followed Coventry Road out of the city, through Coventry, Dunchurch and Daventry to Northampton. It then continued on what's now the A4500 to Wellingborough, and did a dogleg south to Higham Ferrers, carrying on along the current B645 to St Neots. From there, it followed the A428 into Cambridge, and the basic line of the A14 into Ipswich, ending on the junction of Norwich Road and London Road (then the A12).

Original end of the A45 in Ipswich

In 1935, it took over a section of the A1071 (pre bypass A12) and the entire route of the A139 into Felixstowe.

The A45 between Cambridge and Felixstowe was then upgraded in sections until it was wholly dual carriageway. The current A14 still follows this route with only the occasional diversion.

The A45 also once ran through the village of Dunchurch, until the junction on the M45 was built to bypass Dunchurch.

Further on, the road previously continued across M1 junction 16 into Northampton. This is now numbered as the A4500. The A45 was later rerouted onto the southern bypass, the western half of which is now the A5076.

The road also used to continue to St Neots, and is now numbered as B645. The road now carries on to meet the A14 instead.

Meriden Bypass

A plan for a bypass of the village of Meriden was in existence as far back as 1938, however it was not until the 13th October 1958 that a bypass was open for use. It may have been that the Meriden Bypass was the result of works to upgrade the A45 for the arrival of the M45 Dunchuch Spur further east along the A45 the following year[1]. The old road through the village has since become known as the B4104.

Elevated road in Birmingham

Plan of elevated structure

In the 1960s there were plans to build an elevated road above the existing Coventry Road from Swan Island to the city boundary at Hatchford Brook. This was due to insufficient room for a conventional D3 dual carriageway along with slip roads. Not surprisingly there was less than a positive reaction to such a structure from residents and along with the high costs involved the plans were later abandoned.

Bypass of Weedon and Flore (Daventry Development Link)

The work on this bypass commenced in 2016, with the route opening in 2018.

Opening dates

Month Year Section Notes
May 1928 Daventry Bypass The first bypass was officially opened on 17 May 1928 by Mrs Ashley, wife of the Transport Minister. Part may have been open in 1927. It was 1.3 miles long and had a width of 60 feet with a 20 foot concrete carriageway and a footpath on the north side. Cost was £30,853. This section later became unclassified.
Oct 1939 Coventry Southern Bypass The 7 mile bypass between Allesley and Willenhall was fully opened in October 1939 without an official opening. Some sections had temporary surfacing as completion works continued. There were still some single carriageway sections at Fletchampstead Highway and approaching London Road. Cost £300,000. Some sections will have opened earlier.
Sep 1958 Meriden Bypass The 3 mile road from Stonebridge to Pickford Green opened fully on 30 September 1958 (the southbound carriageway had opened on 15 September 1958). The official opening was on 13 October 1958 by Harold Watkinson, Minister of Transport. Cost was £500,000 and contractor was Tarmac Ltd. Work had started in June 1957.
Mar 1985 Rushden: Sanders Lodge Diversion Knuston Lodge Farm, Irchester to the new Skew Bridge Roundabout on Northampton Road. Opened on 20 March 1985 per the Land Compensation Act notice. It was to the west of the Rushden and Higham Ferrers Northern Bypass which opened in 1986.
Sep 1986 Rushden and Higham Ferrers Northern Bypass The 1.5 mile road from Skew Bridge Roundabout, Northampton Road to Chowns Mill Roundabout (A6) was opened on 1 September 1986 by Peter Fry, MP for Wellingborough. Single carriageway but with space for future dualling. Contract was A.F. Budge Ltd. of Retford, cost £3.35 million.
Dec 1986 Small Heath Bypass 3rd and final section – Heybarne's Circus (Hay Mills Roundabout) to Swan Island. The 1 mile online dual carriageway upgrade of Coventry Road was officially opened on 14 December 1986 by Bill Turner, Chairman of Birmingham’s technical services committee. Cost £6 million. It gave a dual carriageway from Middle Ring Road, Digbeth to M42, Birmingham International Airport and beyond.
Nov 1987 Stanwick and Raunds Bypass The 2 mile road was opened on 12 November 1987 by George Pollard, County Council Chairman. Contractor was A. Monk, cost £3.2 million. Opened as A605.
Oct 1989 Ringstead and Denford Bypass The 2.6 mile single carriageway road was opened on 30 October 1989 by George Pollard, County Council Chairman. Contractor was Midland Oak, cost £4.3 million. It was the final link of the A45 east-west M1 to A14 link. Opened as A605.
Dec 1995 Higham Ferrers Bypass to Stanwick dualling Opened on 22 December 1995 per Land Compensation Act notice.
Dec 2018 Weedon, Flore and Upper Heyford Bypass Daventry Development Link Road. The 3.5 mile single carriageway from west of Weedon High Street to M1 J16 Kislingbury was opened on 15 December 2018 by Duncan Shepherd, whose late wife Frances Shepherd was one of the Chairpersons of the Flore Bypass Action Group in the 1970s. Contractor was Balfour Beatty, cost £40.9 million.

Former A45 sections renumbered as A14 and A428 have not been included.


M42 Junction 6 Improvement Flythrough

Fly though video of the proposed M42 junction 6 Scheme.

Watch video > >


National Highways


A45 J11 • Barnes Meadow Interchange • Barrack Corner • Beacon Hill Interchange • Beyton Interchange • Bickenhill Interchange • Bird Island • Blue Boar Interchange • Bordesley Circus • Brackmills Interchange • Caxton Gibbet • Cedars Interchange • Chowns Mill Roundabout • Claydon Roundabout • Clock Interchange • Collingtree Interchange • Copdock Interchange • Dunchurch Interchange • Earls Barton Junction • Exning Interchange • Fen Ditton Junction • Girton Interchange • Great Billing Interchange • Hail Weston Interchange • Heybarne's Circus • Histon Interchange • Irchester Bridge Junction • Kislingbury Interchange • Little Irchester Junction • Lumbertubs Way Interchange • Madingley Interchange • Memorial Island • Milton Interchange (Cambridgeshire) • Nacton Interchange • Nine Mile Hill • Pickford Green Interchange • Poets Corner • Queen Eleanor Interchange • Quy Interchange • Raunds Island • Ryton Island • Seven Hills Interchange • Skew Bridge Roundabout • Sproughton Interchange • Stanwick Roundabout • Stivichall Interchange • Stonebridge Interchange • Swan Island • Thrapston Interchange • Thurlaston Interchange • Tile Hill Gyratory • Tollbar End • Trimley Interchange • Waterhall Interchange • Weedon Crossroads • Weedon Roundabout • Wells Green • Wherstead Interchange • Whitehouse Interchange • Willby Way Roundabout
Related Pictures
View gallery (146)
A45 Between Northampton & Wellingborough - Coppermine - 15952.jpgOS 1946 Coventry.jpgRailway Bridge, Dunchurch - Geograph - 1425860.jpgSAM 1903.JPGA45 North West Bound Direction Sign for B4104 Millisons Wood Meriden - Coppermine - 13181.jpg
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