|Location Map ( geo)
|7.4 miles (11.9 km)
|A899, A779, A801, A706
|Old route now:
|B7015, B7069, B7066, M8, A775
|Route outline (key)
The A705 is a short A-road running parallel to the M8 in West Lothian. It links Whitburn and Blackburn to the New Town of Livingston.
The route begins at Cousland Interchange its junction with the A899 Livingston Spine Road. This is now Scotland's only surviving full Cloverleaf junction. The route then proceeds westwards along Cousland Road through Livingston on a modern distributor road with grade separated junctions. The alignment the road sits in here was clearly designed for a dual carriageway, with the right-hand (northern) verge much wider than the left. Numerous overbridges have supports beside the road where the central reservation would be with huge gaps over the very wide verge. Despite running through the heart of the residential areas, the road is a a pleasant green, tree lined corridor which is often set in a shallow cutting between the housing estates which back on to it. Unusually, perhaps, the wide verge has not yet had a cycle route installed along it, although being a new town, Livingston is not short of pedestrian and cycle routes. Of course, if the dualling were ever carried out now, then much of this greenery would be lost.
Just before this section ends it goes over a footpath, where the bridge is only wide enough for the road, so if the road was planned to be dualled there must have been a plan to add another bridge deck to carry the missing carriageway. The route then comes to Mill Roundabout where it meets the B7015. Old Cousland Road continues ahead, and seems like the natural continuation for the A705, indeed it is the original line of the route. However, instead, the route turns left and multiplexes with the B7015 for a short distance. This road quickly curves round to head west and then comes to a signalised T junction on a bend, which effectively creates a TOTSO for the A705, with the B7015 line to the south having priority in the alignment. This is explained, because the next section of the A705 opened as recently as 2002, and prior to that there was no junction here and the old B7015 alignment has not been changed. The new road leads up to Toll Roundabout where the A705 resumes it original path.
Having driven through Livingston with trees obscuring much of the town, it comes as a bit of a surprise to now catch glimpses of fields between the trees as the A705 follows two short straights south west into the village of Seafield. The wide, straight alignment of Redhouse Road quickly passes through the village, with several bus stops and pedestrian crossing points, and a continuously hatched central strip which flares out at most junctions to accommodate right tuning traffic. A few fields survive between Seafield and Blackburn, albeit with the Historic Blackburn House set down to the left. The hatched centre strip resumes as the A705 follows East Main Street between modern housing estates and into the centre of the village. It then fades away in place of some parking bays before the turning lanes for the long signalised staggered crossroads with the B792 amongst the shops in the centre.
This was all that there was to the old village, a few old houses set around the crossroads on the banks of the River Almond. However, large housing estates were built throughout the twentieth century, turning a small village into a small town. West Main Street, with intermittent hatching, then leads out of Blackburn, past the large Academy and a small industrial area before crossing fields once more. A very wide central reservation then appears, with traffic lights installed in the early 2000s. This is where the A705 meets the out-of-zone A801, which leads to [Whitburn Interchange|J4]] of the M8, before crossing the county to reach the M9 via the infamous gap (in the modern road alignment) as it crosses the River Avon. This junction sits at the entrance to East Whitburn, which is quickly passed through on Main Street, before the A705 enters the much larger town of Whitburn. Main Street becomes East Main Street, which widens as it approaches the town centre, parking bays lining either side. The route then terminates on the A706 at the traffic-light-controlled Whitburn Crossroads in the town centre.
The A705 was originally considerably longer, but over the years it has been curtailed and rerouted several times. At the eastern end, it started on the original A71 in the centre of Mid Calder and headed west along some of what is now the B7015. The A71 followed Bank Street, turning onto Main Street, with the A705 continuing west on Market Street. The junction with the B8046 / Calder Park Road has been redesigned - the A705 originally kept priority here, indeed the line of the B8046 is quite a new road. The B7015 still crosses the Almond at the same bridge, but the A705 then short-cutted the loop of the B7015, as it passed to the south of the Academy (now a cycle route) and then continued to follow the cycle route through Livingston Village. From the village square, it followed Kirk Lane, with a footbridge surviving across the Lochshot Burn, then passed through the houses to pick up the B7015 once more.
The straight line of the original A705 then passed to the south of Mill Roundabout to find Old Cousland Road, but from Toll Roundabout West to Whitburn the A705 still follows its historic line. The development of Livingston New Town began in the late 1960s, and by 1971 the first changes to the A705 have started to appear. The new Cousland Road is already marked on the OS One Inch Sheet, but unclassified, with the A705 still following its old route. There is a spur, however, to tie it into the Almond Interchange, which is at that time the southern terminus of the A899. As the new town grew, so the A705 was diverted onto the new road, probably at the time that the Mid Calder bypass was completed and the A71 moved.
To the west of Whitburn, the A705 used to continue to Bellshill. The 5 mile Boghall to Whitburn section of the Edinburgh to Glasgow new road was completed in 1932 but the A8 doesn't appear to have been diverted onto it immediately, as it is still shown on the original line on the 1932 OS Ten Mile Map. This has changed by 1936, and the Whitburn – Newhouse section of the former A705 is now marked as the A8, before diverting onto another section of new road (also shown on the 1932 map) as far as Ballieston. This led to the section west of Newhouse being renumbered as the A775. Since the opening of the M8 motorway, replacing the A8, the former A705 from Whitburn Crossroads to Newhouse has been renumbered again, and is now the B7066.