The A738 is a short A-road in north Ayrshire. Although the road is still roughly on its original route the majority of the road was moved at the end of 2004 to take over the old A78, with the original A738 now the B780.
Section 1: Ardrossan - Stevenston
Before the opening of the Ardrossan (3 towns) by-pass, the road used to start at a T-junction near to the Largs branch line (as explained below). Now it starts at the new roundabout that opened in June 2004. At first we approach the coast, then the North Bay road turns off and we pass a posh school. We are on a straightish piece of road. We meet the B780 heading north from a crossroads. The B780 takes you to Dalry. We soon meet the old western start of this road, now classified as the extension of the B780 which heads off to the right into the town centre, at a signalised T-junction near to the railway. After crossing the railway, the road passes suburbia. We soon arrive at a signalised crossroads where the unclassified road to the right takes traffic to one of Ardrossan's three stations, Ardrossan South Beach. This junction marks the end of Ardossan. To our right is Ardrossan Academy. In England, it would be called a secondary school.
After the lights, we enter Saltcoats, where my Dad grew up. The Saltcoats part of the road is very straight. We pass a few car dealerships and a semi-busy Esso garage. After the next signalised crossroads we pass a non-24-hour Tesco and the healthcare centre before we enter the last of the 3 towns, Stevenston. We pass a small right turn then the road curves to the left. Very soon, we pass a little newsagent that has been open for at least the last 50 years - you can recognize it by the Scottish Cameral bar with yellow around it. We also cross a bridge over a stream. We then curve to the right towards the roundabout where the old multiplex used to start when this road was the A78. Before, we had a straight run into the multiplex but now we turn slightly to the left.
We're now on the old multiplex, now plain A738. We pass Stevenston cemetery before the second of many roundabouts. This is the B752 to Ardeer. The 3rd roundabout is for Morrisons, B&Q and McDonalds. Very soon, though, we're at the Hawkhill roundabout where the old multiplex ended. The now-D2 A78 crosses us here. This roundabout is much busier now that the Three Towns By-Pass is complete and so there might be plans to GSJ this junction - but who knows? Scottish Transport Policy is superior to English Policy - a lot of the Stevenston section of road has been rebuilt with bus lanes to improve public transport links.
Section 2: Stevenston - Kilwinning
This road also used to be the A78 before the completion of the Irvine By-Pass in the early 1970s. Since then, however, it has always been the A738 and so it is the only part of the pre-2004 route still to carry the A738 number. It is also the only part of the A738 that is maintained by Transport Scotland. After leaving the modern A78 at the Hawkhill roundabout, we pass a few fields and the fire station. It is not long before we enter Kilwinning proper. We pass a couple of schools but it is all run-of-the-mill urban stuff here. We pass Kilwinning Station where the Largs Branch Line joins the Glasgow to Stranraer Main Line. After that, we arrive at the A737 TOTSO, marking the original southern end of that road before the completion of the A78 Kilwinning bypass. This TOTSO marks the end of the A738. As usual there are two options: turn left for Dalry, Johnstone and Glasgow or straight head for the pre-bypass A78 to Irvine and Ayr.
The is the level crossing found in Ardrossan as it was in 1986 - the A738 used to cross it
Before the Three Towns by-pass opened in December 2004, the A738 started on a traffic-light-controlled junction with the A78 in Adrossan, as mentioned above. Now downgraded to B Class and still signed for the ferry to Arran, the road is urban. This part of the road is dead-straight, though on a hill. In Ardrossan town centre, it TOTSOs left at traffic lights and crosses the Ardrossan Branch Line to the ferry port at a level crossing by Ardrossan Town station. Now the road runs along Ardossan South Bay. Soon, our road turns away from the sea and heads to Saltcoats on the way towards Stevenston. It has a roundabout in Saltcoats town centre, now heavily modernised. We pass the Morrisons supermarket, where you can park for the superb West End Café. We pass Saltcoats station and meet the B714 which heads north via the A78 to Dalry. The road now sees the sea again albeit only for a short distance. It is also slightly rural as we are passing a school playing field. The road now enters Stevenson where, after passing houses, you arrive at the current route of the A738 which was the A78 until the Three Towns By-Pass opened in December 2004, redrawing the road map in this area.
In all honesty, the start of the A738 mentioned in the previous paragraph is not the original starting point of the road. The road from the ex-A78 into Ardrossan town centre was the original route of the A739. That road continued on into the port and the A738 started in the town centre at the current TOTSO.
Original Author(s): A Beaton