|Distance:||34 miles (54.7 km)|
|Meets:||M74, A74, M73, A752, A725, A775, A73, A723, A722, A71, A706, A70, A702, A72|
|Former Number(s):||B716, A754, B714, A753|
|Old route now:||A74|
|Route outline (key)|
The A721 is a cross-country A-road in southern Scotland.
Section 1: Maryville – Wishaw
According to the signage, the A721 starts at junction 3A of the M74 (which was numbered J3 before the M74 completion), and then follows the former A74 Glasgow Road for one mile, passing under the M73 as a dual carriageway with a slip road onto the M73 and another onto the southbound M74, then reduces to a single carriageway at a roundabout junction with the B7001, passes a junction with the B758 and comes to a junction with the B7071.
On the other hand, according to maps this initial section is still part of the A74, and the A721 begins at the junction with the B7071.
It heads east from here as New Edinburgh Road through the Tannochside and Fallside districts to a large roundabout junction with the A725 and B7001 above the mainline of the A725. It continues east past Strathclyde Industrial Estate as Gartcosh Walk, a realigned section of road forming a by-pass of Bellshill Town Centre, meeting the A775 and B7070 at a roundabout, before heading south as a multiplex with the B7070, being named North Road at this point. It then turns to head east as Bellshill Main Street (leaving the B7070), and then south east as Motherwell Road, this section being northbound only, southbound traffic being diverted via the B7070 and an unclassified road. Continuing south east it passes through the Orbiston district of Bellshill, and crosses the South Calder Water into Motherwell.
In Motherwell it passes through the Forgewood district as Bellshill Road, and into Motherwell Town Centre as Muir Street, forming a ring road as it passes through, this would almost be a magic roundabout if traffic were allowed to circle in both directions (the northern part – Hope Street and Menteith Road being two way, and the southern part – West Hamilton Street, Hamilton Road, and Muir Street being westbound only). At the eastern side of Motherwell Town Centre it heads south east, first as Brandon Street, then as Windmillhill Street, meeting the B754 at a roundabout and continuing east as Craigneuk Street, past the site of the erstwhile Ravenscraig steel works, becoming Shieldmuir Street, and then Glasgow Road as it passes into Wishaw.
Section 2: Wishaw – Kirkdean
In Wishaw town centre it becomes Main Street, meeting the B7033 at Wishaw Cross and then the A722 and B7032 at the East Cross, becoming Stewarton Street as it heads south east out of Wishaw and becoming Wishaw Road as it passes through Waterloo, where it meets the A71 at a roundabout. Continuing east from here it meets the A73 at a roundabout at Bogside, and multiplexes with it for over two miles, crossing into South Lanarkshire, and re-emerging as Glamis Avenue in Carluke. In Carluke town centre it heads first south as Chapel Street, and then east again as Carnwath Road.
Leaving Carluke behind as Kilncadzow Road, it passes through Roadmeetings, where it crosses the B7056, through Kilncadzow as Carnwath Road, and meets the A706 at a roundabout, before continuing east and multiplexing with the A70 close to Carstairs (and the State Hospital), both routes travelling east through Carnwath West End, past the B7016, and splitting up again in Carnwath town centre. Although the A70 number is dominant, the A721's route has priority, with the A70 having to TOTSO in Carstairs, then turn off at a mini-roundabout in Carnwath. The road continues east from here as Caldwell Terrace and then Carnwath Road, crossing the North Medwin Water, passing through Newbigging, crossing the South Medwin Water and through Elsrickle. It the crosses the A702 at a staggered crossroads. Shortly after, it crosses into the Scottish Borders and ends at a junction with the A72 (multiplexed with the A701) at Kirkdean.
In 1922 it only went as far as the A73 in Bogside - two B-roads (quickly upgraded to A-roads) took traffic the rest of the way. In 1935, the whole thing was renumbered A721.