|To:||Uttoxeter Bypass (SK086347)|
|Distance:||33.9 miles (54.6 km)|
|Meets:||A442, A4640, A41, A5187, A34, A449, A513, A51, B5013, B5027, B5017, A522, A50, B5030|
|Old route now:||B4373, A442|
|Route outline (key)|
Originally numbered as a useful link from (in 1922) from the A5 at Wellington to Uttoxeter on the A50, the A518 survives relatively unchanged (except in Telford) and much used. The numbering of the road would have made better sense had it continued to the A6 at Belper, via the present day B5030 and the A517. I can only imagine the B5030 was considered too rough a ride in the 1920s to make the "A" grade!
Section 1: Trench – Stafford
We start to leave the Telford conurbation at Trench, where the route had a major realignment and improvement in the early 1990s, and we head for Newport, Shropshire, passing Lilleshall, home of the FA's School of Excellence, on the way. This section heads northeast via a fast, but roundabout-laden, relief road to turn left onto the A41 Newport bypass and, a mile later, turn right on the first section of its original route. The A41 bypassed Newport before the A518 did and so for some time the road went through the town centre with a TOTSO at either end of the former multiplex. A pleasant section though rolling countryside and Gnosall takes the road beneath the M6 near Stafford Castle and through the town centre.
Stafford is a good example of various unfinished road schemes and frustrated dreams of the 1960s and 1970s. Its ring road remains incomplete and the few efforts made to improve traffic flow to the south and west of the town are skewed by the presence of the M6. The inner ring road – more of a 'c shape' road! – is a rather bizarre experience. The A518 seems to split just after the railway bridge to to form the other two sides of the ring road (not signed as such) - but whichever way you go there's still a short multiplex along the A34.
Section 2: Stafford – Uttoxeter
After leaving the town the road crosses the A513 "ring" road and passes the county showground before descending a long steep hill to cross the Trent and Mersey Canal, the A51, and the London to Manchester railway line at Weston (transport heaven!). From here it is a twisting haul past the magnificent ruins of Chartley Castle to arrive close by Uttoxeter railway station, where it meets the B5017 from Burton upon Trent. The road then bypasses the town and reaches the A50 courtesy of a new roundabout that, in effect, divides the A518 into two sections: one which crosses over the A50 mainly to provide access to the A50 eastbound, and the other to an older roundabout for A50 traffic westbound and eastbound! This roundabout is too fast, both junctions should have been converted to an extended GSJ when the Doveridge bypass was built in the 1990s.
After Telford was designated a new town, new roads were built, one of which was the Queensway distributor. This started on the A442 at Sutton Hill to the south of town and headed north; its original number was A518 even though it did not connect with the rest of the road to begin with.
In the 1980s, the A518 still continued west of Trench, leaving Queensway at Wombridge Interchange, then heading south and west to Ketley Brook roundabout. This was downgraded some time later, leaving a gap in the B5061.