|Location Map ( geo)
|4.9 miles (7.9 km)
|A8, B7054, A78
|Now part of:
|Route outline (key)
The A742 was the highest numbered A7xx road in the 1922 Road Lists, but it is no more, having been renumbered many years ago. It was the continuation of the A78 trunk route between Irvine and Greenock; the A78 used to head off round the coast to Gourock at a TOTSO junction near Inverkip, and the A742 continued through Spango Valley, past the large IBM plant, and descended through Greenock town centre to meet the A8. Now the A78 takes this route, and the old A78 coast route is the A770.
Some people think that the A78 and A742 should have simply swapped numbers, but instead the old A78 became the A770 when the change happened in the mid 1980s. This road was and still is the direct way to Inverkip from Greenock.
As first classified, the A742 started at a fork off the A8 and ran through the town centre on Cathcart Street and High Street. It was diverted onto the current, slightly shorter, route of the A78 between 1960 and 1965, with the Cathcart Street section being renumbered as an extension of the B7054. Further south, the dualling of the route through the Spango Valley in the 1980s obliterated a couple of old kinks. One was situated roughly where the GSJ junction for the IBM factory is located, and the other near the junction with Dunrod Road, where the A742 took a curve along the river bank. Both loops were to the south east of the current alignment, and both still show up on the 1972 OS One Inch Map, suggesting that they were not removed before the dualling took place.
The Route in 1982
The A742 started at a T-junction with the A8 in the centre of Greenock. The A8 continued west towards Gourock, while the A742 heads into the outskirts of Greenock town centre and finds the first roundabout. It goes straight ahead and over a railway before meeting the B7054 on a corner, shortly after which it passes a sign for Lyle Hill, which is where the Free French Navy memorial is located. Next up is the Greenock suburb of Pennyfern on the left. It then passes the railway station of Branchton and signs for Gourock, before heading out of Greenock and into the countryside. This marks the start of the Spango Valley, where the hills rise to about 300m. It also marks the start of the planned dual carriageway which is for the expansion of the IBM works which opened here in 1951. As part of the deal to extend their factory in Greenock, IBM are paying for the upgrade of the southern end of the road. It continues to pass between the hills on this road until meeting the A78 from Gourock. This is where the A78 TOTSOs to go toward Gourock and thus marks the end of the A742. Just after the road ends, the planned D2 section will end. At this moment of time (1982), though, it is wholly S2. This road may become the A78 toward Gourock, the Scottish Office will decide its fate very soon.