|Distance:||14.8 miles (23.8 km)|
|Meets:||A541, A5104, A5118, A549, A55, A494, A548, A540, A41|
|Old route now:||A494|
North & Mid Wales TRA
|Route outline (key)|
The A550 is a local route in east Flintshire before crossing the Wirral as a trunk road.
Section 1: Cefn-y-bedd – Queensferry
The road begins as the right-hand fork in the A541 between Cefn-y-bedd and Caergwrle, about 3 miles north of Wrexham. It runs alongside a railway to the east of Caergwrle Castle (the A541 runs to the west), then turns hard right to go under the railway and over the River Alyn to pass through the eastern side of Caergwrle and into Hope, where we turn left at the junction with the B5373.
After passing through Hope, we continue northwards along a flat straightish road to a roundabout with the A5104 at Penyffordd. The roundabout is west of the village and, in fact, the A550 now bypasses the main village, the old road being downgraded to unclassified. We now multiplex on the north-west side of the bypass with the A5104. Just to the north of the point where the bypass and old road meet, there is a roundabout, where the A5104 turns right. The left turn here is the A5118.
At the A55 junction J35), traffic heading to Queensferry is directed west along the A55. Rather than follow suit, the A550 takes a surprisingly bendy route through Tinker's Dale Woods for a mile or so to reach Hawarden. The road turns left at a T-junction with a disused stone fountain in the middle of it, and multiplexes with the B5125 (pre-bypass A55) for 200 m before turning off to the right. There's a slight bend and then the road straightens out for a mile before it reaches Queensferry and a roundabout with the A494 and B5129, and multiplexes with the former.
Section 2: Queensferry – Hooton
The A550/A494 was upgraded extensively in this area around 2003/4. It used to be a simple, straightforward D2, but has now been upgraded to dual three-lane with hard shoulders (westbound was designed to be four-lane with hard shoulders).
There used to be a humpback bridge here which the road used to go over; it used to be one of those stomach-churning humps when you reached the crest to go back down. Sadly, it has been completely removed in the current works. We then pass under the relatively new section of the A548 which heads off towards Flint, bypassing the old A548 (now the B5129) through Connah's Quay. There used to be a petrol station around here in the field to the left of the on-slip from the A548, but was knocked down and left to return to nature when the new A548 was built. There is almost no trace whatsoever now of the old petrol station; it has almost totally been reclaimed by nature. The A550 then leaves at a new grade-separated junction, replacing the old Shotwick lights junction (although it can also be accessed from the A548 roundabout), while the A494 continues along the route of the old A5117 towards the M56. The A550 then becomes quite a narrow and rather straight S2 road.
There's very little to see around here, just plain fields and the hedges along the sides of the road. It dips quite steeply to a small junction to the village of Shotwick (which is little more than single-track) and then back up the dip where we come to a small stretch of dual carriageway leading up to the major signalled crossroad junction with the A540 by a former Little Chef (which was very popular with Sunday bikers heading into North Wales); it was demolished in 2004/2005. There was also a Honda Dealer called Two Mills (closed in 2013), which this junction is known as to us locals. In recent years, there have been a number of crashes here, because it is a rather busy and very fast junction, so traffic light cameras are now in place, but only on the A550. Anyway, over the lights and the dual carriageway quickly vanishes back to the straight and quite narrow standard S2 road we just left behind approaching the junction. Again, much the same here: flat fields and roadside hedges.
After a few miles we come to the junction with the B5463 leading into the outer suburbs of Ellesmere Port. As you pass this junction and look to your right behind the trees, you'll see a pub and a road. This used to be the old A550. It's now just a dead end, only accessible by car from the B5463 (turn an almost immediate left after leaving the A550). After around 100 m, it becomes a cycle track and merges as pavement back into its current alignment. The A550 continues almost arrow-straight. The road undulates around here and there is a speed camera which has been vandalised (i.e. fire, spray paint, etc.) at least three times to my knowledge since it's been placed there. We pass a hotel and then we come up to a petrol station (only accessible from the other side of it – on the A41) and an upside down 'V'-shaped junction with the A41, only a few hundred yards before it reaches the M53 at junction 5. In recent times, this junction of the A550 has been realigned slightly from the A41 by new 'curving' road markings – it's only made the junction rather confusing at best with non-locals. This is the sudden, abrupt and 'narrow' end of the A550.
Original Author(s): Simon Davies, Gary Hayman, orudge