|North Wales Expressway|
|Length:||88 miles (141.6 km)|
|Meets:||A5, A5154, B4545, A5153, A4080, A5114, A5152, A5025, A487, A4087, A547, A546, A470, B5115, B5113, A548, A525, B5429, A5151, B5122, A5026, B5123, A5119, B5126, A494, A550, A5104, B5125, A483, A41, A51, M53, A56|
|Old route now:||A547, A5026, B5125, A5104, A483|
|Route outline (key)|
The A55 is the main road in North Wales. It is a very high quality road, much of it rebuilt in the 1990s, which today forms the main road linking Chester to Holyhead. Apart from the Britannia Bridge, which remains S2, and a short bit of S2 in Holyhead, it is wholly D2. Some sections of the A55 are even a secret motorway.
It is the busiest and most congested road in the region due to its importance of connecting Britain to Ireland via the Holyhead ferries, and one of the few dual carriageway roads in North Wales. The road has usurped the A5 as the main road across Anglesey to the docks.
The A55 being the main road between the ferry port of Holyhead (i.e Dublin) and England, it was always going to gain upgrades. Originally built by Thomas Telford, over the years it has had various upgrades on its route.
Particularly important upgrades occurred in the 1930s, building new tunnels along the coastline between Conwy and Bangor to improve traffic, further improvements in the 1970s encouraged by Wyn Roberts (then MP for Conwy and later the Welsh Under Secretary of State), and an EU funded scheme across Anglesey that opened in 2001.
Notable locations and improvements
The Penmaenbach Tunnels are a pair of tunnels found at Penmaenbach. The eastbound tunnel is the original one from 1932 while the newer one was built in the 1980s. The eastbound tunnel replaced a coastal road built by Thomas Telford.
The Pen-y-Clip Tunnels have much the same story as the Penmaenbach Tunnels though its westbound tunnel was built a decade later. Unlike the Penmaenbach Tunnels, though, the pre-tunnel route has been reinstated for pedestrian use.
The Britannia Bridge was originally built in the 1840s as a rail bridge for the LNWR for its line to Holyhead. It has a less favourable crossing point than the Menai Bridge to the east. The original version of the bridge was a tubular bridge and was part of the route for Irish mail as part of the Union with Ireland. In 1970, the bridge was burnt down and a new one was built using the original pillars. A road deck was built as part of the A5. It gained the A55 number in 1999.
|1999||Anglesey||New build D2. Replaces the A5 as the trunk road.|
|1976||Chester Bypass||D2 bypass.|
|1971||Britannia Bridge||Rebuild of railway bridge.|
|1935||Pen-y-clip Tunnel||New-build tunnel|
|1932||Penmaenbach Tunnel||New-build tunnel|
- The Motorway Archive
- Engineering Group 2004 Field Meeting: A55 North Wales
- Railways of North Wales - A55 Expressway at Colwyn Bay
- Railways of North Wales - Britannia Bridge