|Location Map ( geo)
|Craigton, Cardonald (NS533638)
|Canniesburn Toll, Bearsden (NS548709)
|5 miles (8 km)
|A761, M8, A8, A814, A82, A81, A809
|Route outline (key)
The A739 is a busy road linking the western districts of Glasgow. As its route includes the Clyde Tunnel, it was the main way from the South West of Scotland to North Scotland before the completion of the Erskine Bridge in the mid 1970s.
Cardonald – Clyde Tunnel
The route starts at an at-grade traffic-light-junction with the A761 in the Cardonald area of south west Glasgow. As it heads north along Berryknowes Road, past a supermarket, there is a short section of S2 before it becomes D2. As it heads north, through the eastern edge of Cardonald, there are numerous side turnings, but only two are signalised and one of these is just for a primary school. The road is lined with mid twentieth century houses and flats, some set back behind service roads, others with on street parking reducing the dual carriageway to a single lane in one direction or the other. As it crosses over the railway at Cardonald Station, the route splits at traffic lights, Berryknowes Road continuing ahead as a single carriageway, and passing over the M8 motorway. This then curves round and drops down to a roundabout, where it becomes Meiklewood Road. Shortly after, it meets the A8, Shieldhall Road at a much larger roundabout, and is in effect the south facing sliproads for this grade separated junction.
The mainline, meanwhile, swings sharply left and heads west between the railway and motorway to meet the M8 at Cardonald Interchange, J25. Sliproads for the westbound M8 meet the A739 at a roundabout here, where it turns north once more to cross the motorway. The eastbound slips then merge immediately above the roundabout on Meiklewood Road, but only permit left turn movements. The A739 then goes over the top of the A8 junction, with the sliproad connections meeting some distance further on, the southbound offslip using the unclassified Langlands Road to reach the roundabout. The A739 continues north as a dual carriageway, running alongside Skipness Avenue, but with no connection to it, while the the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus stands opposite. The northbound carriageway then has sliproads connecting to Moss Road as it starts to curve right then left to line up with the Clyde Tunnel.
There is a crossover just in front of the tunnel portal, which allows traffic to be directed into a contraflow for maintenance of either tunnel, and can also be used in conjunction with the emergency vehicle access road. This drops down alongside a southbound offslip to Govan Road, but there are no other connections to surface streets at this point. The tunnel is a twin bore dual carriageway, which takes about half a mile to pass under the Clyde.
Clyde Tunnel – Canniesburn
As it emerges from the Tunnel, there is a crossover and northbound offslip, again with an emergency access road alongside. This was the original entrance and exit of the Clyde Tunnel before the Clydeside Expressway section of the A814 opened, and now leads to a local road. Soon after, the A814 is met at the Whiteinch Interchange. This is a complex hybrid junction: a mixture of a diamond and whirlpool which is far harder to try and understand on a map than it is to navigate. Compared to the A814, the A739 is lucky, passing underneath the tangle of sliproads with a simple on and off sliproad in either direction. The route then heads north as Balshagray Avenue, passing the eastern end of Victoria Park. The houses to the left sit back behind a service road, while those that used to stand to the right were lost when the road was widened in the late 1960s. It's very busy traffic-wise as it carries traffic to and from the Clydeside Expressway (A814) and the Clyde Tunnel.
The first traffic-light-controlled junction is with Victoria Park Drive and Victoria Park Gardens on the edge of the Broomhill district, followed fairly quickly by another with Crow Road, formerly the B813. The route then heads north as Crow Road into the Jordanhill district, crossing under two railway bridges. The first sees the central reservation disappear, and the road is reduced to S4 for a time. Immediately after the second bridge, it meets another traffic-light-controlled junction, this time with Southbrae Drive, before continuing north into the Anniesland district. The road then becomes a dual carriageway again, in preparation for the tangle of traffic lights that is Anniesland Cross, its junction with Great Western Road (A82) and Anniesland Road (formerly the A806, and now unclassified). Traffic is not able to turn right onto the A82 at the main crossroads, and instead has to turn left in advance, pass around the back of a small park, and then turn right, passing through 4 sets of lights along the way.
The A739 continues north on Bearsden Road past a large superstore, still as a dual carriageway as it passes through the Temple district and then crosses the Forth and Clyde Canal on Temple Bridge. There are a mixture of residential and commercial sites along the road south of the canal, but on the north bank it quickly passes a few houses and then passes under a railway line and into trees. There are a few houses hiding behind the greenery before it leaves the City of Glasgow and crossing into East Dunbartonshire at the edge of the Westerton district (at one time this was known as Westerton Garden Suburb). Across the boundary it becomes Switchback Road, well named as, although straight, the road rises and falls as it enters the Canniesburn district. Houses are now more obvious on the left, while parts of the University of Glasgow lie to the east of the route. On its approach to its northern end at Canniesburn Toll, the route makes a final curve to the right, dropping down to the roundabout where it meets the A81 and A809.
The A739 number seems to have been reallocated specifically for the new Clyde Tunnel and its approaches which opened in 1963 and 1964. The only sections to be classified beforehand were north of the Clyde, namely the A806 north of Anniesland Cross, and the B813 along Crow Road to the south. The reason why the A806 number wasn't simply re-routed through the tunnel is probably that it would have taken the number out of zone, and back in the 1960s people still cared about such things!
When the tunnel first opened, it had a rather convoluted route, and although it started in the same place, beyond the A8 it continued north up Moss Road before stealing a short section of the B860, Govan Road, to find the slip road noted above. The Clyde Tunnel Southern Approach Roads were officially opened on 30 November 1967 by the Lord Provost per the 1967 Scottish Development Department Report. Contractor was Melville, Dundas and Whitson, tender price £982,186, forecast cost £1.6 million. On the north bank, the A739 terminated on the old A814, Dumbarton Road, using the sliproads noted above. However, by 1968 Balshagray Road had been widened, and the A739 extended north. It took another year for the Whiteinch Interchange to be completed and the final connection to the tunnel was made. The Clyde Tunnel Northern Approach Roads were the final part of the Clyde Tunnel scheme and opened on 9 April 1969.