Star.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.png


From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (179)
North Wales Expressway
From:  Holyhead (SH248821)
To:  Chester (SJ432686)
Via:  Bangor, Conwy
Distance:  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
Former Number(s):  A5
Old route now:  A547, A5026, B5125, A5104, A483
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

National Highways • Welsh Government

North & Mid Wales TRA
Traditional Counties

Anglesey • Caernarfonshire • Cheshire • Denbighshire • Flintshire

Route outline (key)
A55 Holyhead – Chester
Junction List
Junc Eastbound Westbound
- Start of Road Docks, Station and Car Park
- A5 A5
- A5154 A5154
1 B4545 B4545
2 A5153 (A5) A5153 (A5)
3 A5, (A5025), A5, (A5025)
4 A5 A5
5 (A5), A4080 (A5), A4080
6 A5, A5114 A5, A5114
7 A5152 A5152
7A No Exit A5
8 A5025, (A545) A5025
8A No Exit A5, (A4080, A545)
Bridge Britannia Bridge
9 A487 A487
10 A4087 A4087
11 A5, (A4244), Bangor Services A5, (A4244), Bangor Services
12 Tal-y-bont Tal-y-bont
13 Abergwyngregyn Abergwyngregyn
14 Llanfairfechan Llanfairfechan
15 Llanfairfechan Llanfairfechan
Tunnel Pen-y-Clip Tunnels
15A Penmaenmawr No Exit
16 Penmaenmawr Penmaenmawr
16A No Exit Dwygyfylchi
Tunnel Penmaenbach Tunnels
17 A547 A547
Tunnel Conwy Tunnel
18 A546 A546
19 A470, A547 A470, A547
20 A547, B5113, B5115 A547, B5113, B5115
21 B5113 B5113
22 (A547) (A547)
23 A547, Services A547, Services
23A A548 No Exit
24 A547 A547
24A St George Llan San Siôr No Exit
Services symbol.gif Kinmel Park
25 Bodelwyddan Bodelwyddan
26 St Asaph Business Park St Asaph Business Park
27 A525 A525
Bridge St Asaph Bypass Bridge
27A No Exit A525
28 B5429 (B5429)
29 Rhuallt Rhuallt
30 Lloc Tremeirchion
31 A5026, A5151, B5122 A5026, A5151, B5122
32 A5026, B5123 A5026
32A A5026 B5123
32B Flint Halkyn
33 A5119 A5119
33A Northop Hall B5126
Services symbol.gif Chester West Services
33B No Exit A494
34 A494 A494
35 A550 A550
36 A5104 A5104
37 No Exit (A5104)
38 A483 A483
Bridge Chester Bypass Bridge
39 A41 A41
40 A51 A51
M53 J12 M53, A56 Start of road


Part of the A55 near Colwyn Bay
Main Article: A55/Route

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 road deck of the Britannia Bridge in 1982. This was numbered A5
Main Article: A55/History

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

Penmaenbach Tunnels

The eastern portal of the eastbound tunnel
Main Article: Penmaenbach Tunnels

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 opened in 1989. The eastbound tunnel replaced a coastal road built by Thomas Telford.

Pen-y-Clip Tunnels

This is where the two carriageways split/rejoin at the western portal of the 1990s tunnel
Main Article: Pen-y-Clip Tunnels

The Pen-y-Clip Tunnels have much the same story as the Penmaenbach Tunnels though its westbound tunnel was built a little later in 1993. Unlike the Penmaenbach Tunnels, though, the pre-tunnel route has been reinstated for pedestrian and cycle use.

Britannia Bridge

The Britannia Bridge in Winter.
Main Article: Britannia Bridge

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.

Opening dates

Month Year Section From To Notes
1932 Holywell Bypass J31 J32 S2 bypass
1932 Penmaenbach Tunnel J16A J17 New-build tunnel
1935 Pen-y-clip Tunnel J15 J15A New-build tunnel
1963 Llanddulas Hill - - D2 dualling. Bypassed in 1984 by Colwyn Bay Bypass
1968 Abergele and Llanddulas Bypass J23 J24 D2 bypass.
1969 Llandudno Junction Flyover - - S2 bridge over railway. Bypassed in 1991 by Conwy Tunnel section.
1969 Tai'r meibion - Aber J12 J13 D2 dualling
1969 St Asaph Bypass J27 J27A D2 bypass.
1971 Britannia Bridge J8A J9 Rebuild of railway bridge.
1976 Chester Southern Bypass J38 J39 D2 bypass.
1983 Llanfairpwllgwyngyll Bypass J7A J8A D2 bypass (originally A5).
1983 Bangor and Menai Bridge Bypass J9 J11 D2 bypass (part originally A5).
1984 Ewloe, Hawarden and Broughton Bypass J34 J37 D2 bypass (short 0.6 mile section of D3).
1984 Colwyn Bay and Old Colwyn Bypass J20 J23 D2 bypass.
1985 Mochdre Bypass J19 J20 D2 bypass.
1986 Holywell Bypass J31 J32 D2 bypass.
1986 Bodelwyddan Bypass J24A J25 D2 bypass.
1989 Northop Bypass J32B J33A D2 bypass.
1989 Penmaenbach South Tunnel J16A J17 Additional tunnel bore.
1989 Penmaenmawr Bypass J15A J16 D2 bypasses.
1989 Llanfairfechan Bypass J14 J15 D2 bypasses.
1990 Llandudno Junction Bypass J18 J19 D2 bypass.
1991 Chester Eastern Bypass J39 M53 D2 bypass.
1991 Conwy Tunnel J17 J18 New build tunnel and D2 bypass.
1992 Rhuallt Hill Improvement J27A J29 D2 bypass with 2.1 mile additional crawler lane eastbound.
1993 Pen-y-Clip South Tunnel J15 J15A Additional tunnel bore.
1999 Anglesey J4 J6 New build D2. Replaces the A5 as the trunk road.


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


Roads UK

Welsh Government


Abergwyngregyn Interchange • Ael y Bowl Interchange • Alltami Junction • Billy Jean's • Bodelwyddan Interchange • Boughton Heath Junction • Boughton Heath Roundabout • Brookside Interchange • Broughton Junction • Broughton Roundabout (Flintshire) • Caernarfon Road Interchange • Caerwys Interchange • Carreg Bran Interchange • Cefn Du Interchange • Colwyn Bay Interchange • Conway Road Interchange • Conwy Morfa Interchange • Dalar Hir Interchange • Dobshill Interchange • Dolphin Junction • Dwygyfylchi Junction • Ewloe Interchange • Faenol Interchange • Glan Conwy Interchange • Glan Menai Junction • Hoole Island Junction • Kingsland Roundabout • Llandudno Junction Interchange • Llanddulas Interchange • Llanfairfechan Roundabout • Llys y Gwynt Interchange • Madryn Interchange • Nant Turnpike Interchange • Northop Interchange • Old Colwyn Interchange • Pant-y-Dulath Interchange • Pen Caledog Interchange • Penmaenmawr Junction • Pensarn Interchange • Pont Dafydd Junction • Puffin Roundabout • St Asaph Business Park Junction • St Georges Interchange (Denbighshire) • Tal y Bont Interchange • Talardy Junction • Travellers Inn Junction • Treban Interchange • Treborth Interchange • Ty Mawr Interchange • Vicars Cross • Waen Interchange • Warren Interchange • Wrexham Road Interchange
Related Pictures
View gallery (179)
Rhuallt hill A55 - Geograph - 29554.jpgRhuallt hill and the Vale of Clwyd - Geograph - 99898.jpgA55 Westbound - Coppermine - 4624.JPGA55 - The marble CHurch - Coppermine - 4497.JPGSAM 0502-min.JPG
Other nearby roads
A41 • A51 • A54 • A56 • A483 • A529 (Chester - Hinstock) • A540 • A548 • A5032 • A5104 • A5115 • A5116 • A5268 • A5480 • B5104 • B5129 • B5130 • B5131 • E22 • Ffordd Gogledd Cymru • M53 • M56 • M53/Unbuilt Southern Extension • RM7 • T14 (Britain) • T18 (Britain) • T19 (Britain)
Bangor (Caernarfonshire)
The First 99           A1  •  A2  •  A3  •  A4  •  A5  •  A6  •  A7  •  A8  •  A9  • A10 • A11 • A12 • A13 • A14 • A15 • A16 • A17 • A18 • A19
A20 • A21 • A22 • A23 • A24 • A25 • A26 • A27 • A28 • A29 • A30 • A31 • A32 • A33 • A34 • A35 • A36 • A37 • A38 • A39
A40 • A41 • A42 • A43 • A44 • A45 • A46 • A47 • A48 • A49 • A50 • A51 • A52 • A53 • A54 • A55 • A56 • A57 • A58 • A59
A60 • A61 • A62 • A63 • A64 • A65 • A66 • A67 • A68 • A69 • A70 • A71 • A72 • A73 • A74 • A75 • A76 • A77 • A78 • A79
A80 • A81 • A82 • A83 • A84 • A85 • A86 • A87 • A88 • A89 • A90 • A91 • A92 • A93 • A94 • A95 • A96 • A97 • A98 • A99
Motorway sectionsA1(M): (South Mimms - Baldock • Alconbury - Peterborough • Doncaster Bypass • Darrington - Birtley)
A3(M) • A8(M) Baillieston spur • A38(M) • A48(M) Cardiff spur • A57(M) • A58(M) • A64(M) • A66(M) • A74(M) • A92(M)
DefunctA1(M) Newcastle CME • A2(M) Medway Towns Bypass • A4(M) • A5(M) • A8(M) Renfrew bypass • A14 • A14(M) • A18(M) • A20(M) • A36(M)
A40(M): (Westway • Denham -Stokenchurch) • A41(M) • A42 • A46(M) • A48(M): (Port Talbot bypass • Morriston bypass) • A62(M) • A88 • A99
UnbuiltA2(M) Rochester Way Relief Road • A6(M): (Western route • Eastern route) • A14(M) (Expressway) • A34(M) • A48(M) Llantrisant Radial • A59(M) • A61(M)

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help