|Location Map ( geo)
|East Kilbride (NS644557)
|7 miles (11.3 km)
|A725, B783, B759, A730, B762, B768, A724, A728, B763, A74, A8
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The route commences at its southern end at the large and busy Whirlies Roundabout, at the northern reaches of East Kilbride. It meets the A725, East Kilbride Expressway which heads east to the M74 and the B783 at the junction. It then heads north on Kingsway, a dual carriageway passing between commercial properties to another roundabout junction with a more recent spur heading east, built to allow traffic from the north to join the A725 without having to negotiate the Whirlies Roundabout, and vice versa. This spur joins the A725 less than half a mile away at a grade separated fork junction. A short distance north is the busy Kingsgate Roundabout, giving access to the large Kingsgate Retail Park and to Stewartfield Way which, despite being unclassified, acts as a northern by-pass for the large New Town. This is followed by a traffic-light-controlled junction at the northern entrance to the retail park.
The route soon leaves the town behind as it continues north as a dual carriageway across open countryside. This is Glasgow Road, and after passing through a shallow cutting, expansive views over much of the Glasgow urban area and Cambuslang open out below. Many of the old side roads have been closed up, but there is a busy staggered crossroads with central reservation gaps. It then meets the B759 at a signalised crossroads, beyond which the two carriageways flare apart from each other. This does not appear to be future proofing for grade separation, but rather that the northbound carriageway is the old road, and the southbound was built around existing properties. There is a right turn only cut through between the two carriageways to allow traffic to reach the western arm of the B759 which soon turns off to the left after a short multiplex. The two carriageways then come back together at the Cathkin Roundabout where it meets the A730 Cathkin bypass and becomes East Kilbride Road.
Continuing north west the route winds through parkland between sprawling housing estates, passing through a couple of junctions, only one of which is signalised, before meeting the old line of the A730 at more lights. Before the Cathkin bypass route was completed, this was a busy fork where traffic split, and so the route beyond quickly drops to a single lane in either direction, although still with a central reservation at first, as it enters the Burnside district. Now deep into suburbia, at the next set of lights the route turns right, under two railway bridges onto Stonelaw Road. The left turn is the B762, which turns off right at another set of lights just beyond the railway. Although Stonelaw Road is reasonably wide, parking bays in front of the shops, bus stops and a pedestrian crossing all conspire to slow traffic as it squeezes through the narrow strip of tarmac left for moving vehicles. Certainly there isn't room for a car and bus or lorry to pass in places. Beyond the shops, Stonelaw Road winds north west between patches of parkland and a mixture of Victorian and newer housing.
Now in the Rutherglen district, the route continues north on Stonelaw Road to the traffic-light-controlled Rutherglen Cross where it crosses the B768, Rutherglen Main Street. Continuing north from here on Farmeloan Road it crosses the West Coast Main Line and goes under the M74, with no junction, in quick succession to enter a much more industrial area, with pockets of housing. It meets the A724 at Farme Cross, and kinks left onto Dalmarnock Road. There are Four Lanes as far as the supermarket entrance, but no central reservation, and then it narrows again before crossing the River Clyde by way of Dalmarnock Bridge to enter the City of Glasgow as Dalmarnock Road in the Dalmarnock district. The route then curves back to the north west as it passes through a large area of new housing, some still being built (2023) all being developed on brownfield sites as part of the regeneration of the area.
After crossing the dualled A728, at a signalised crossroads, the A749 continues ahead towards Bridgeton, but as far as can be ascertained it comes to an abrupt halt at the next set of lights where it meets the B763. It certainly used to continue ahead along Dalmarnock Road to Bridgeton Cross, but this has long since had a bus-only connection in the middle, and the council appear to have eventually remedied this, in part at least. Over the last decade there have been signs up suggesting that Newhall Street and The Green might be part of the A749, but these seem to have disappeared again. It is not until the signalised crossroads with the the A74 on London Road that it can be said with any certainty that the A749 resumes. London Road heads north west past flats and houses before passing the famous Barras Market. There is then an awkward kink to the left where there used to be a roundabout, leading onto the final straight.
At the corner of Barrowland Park, the one way Moir Street comes in from the left, and beyond London Road forms part of a one-way traffic system in the area around Glasgow Cross, with the A89 on the far side of the park carrying eastbound traffic. The route then passes under a railway line and finally ends on the A8 at Glasgow Cross, opposite Trongate. Inbound traffic has used the A749 whilst outbound traffic needs to take the parallel A89 which departs along Gallowgate a few yards to the north on the other side of the old Mercat Cross.
The A749 number did not exist in the first batch of routes allocates in 1922, but came into soon after, probably in 1925, when it took over the entire length of the B744. It was certainly in place by 1928 as it appears on that years MOT map revision. The route originally started on the A723 in the centre of Strathaven and headed north via a multiplex along the A726 in East Kilbride, to end on the A74 in Rutherglen. In 1934 the A726 was rerouted via Strathaven taking on the original southern section of the A749. In return, the A749 was extended slightly to meet its new route along what was the multiplex. The road was also extended at the Glasgow end a couple of years later in 1936, when the A74 and A724 swapped numbers west of Hamilton; however, rather than the latter running all the way into Glasgow it was stopped at Rutherglen and the A749 took on the remainder of the ex-A74 through to Bridgeton Cross
The growth of the New Town of East Kilbride rerouted the A749 onto what is now the eastern bypass in the mid 1950s. In the late 1970s the A725 was extended to the town and took over the southern part of this section of the route. The original line through the town started at a T junction on the A726 and ran north east along Graham Avenue, Old Coach Road and Highfield Place. This line is then cut by the newer B783, but resumes as The Gateway before following Mavor Avenue, the northern end of which has been lost under the retail park. The old route then reappears as Glasgow Road in the small settlement of Nerston beyond the retail park. The 1957 OS One Inch Map shows the current route, but it is all single carriageway. By 1968 the section between the two roundabouts with the A725 had been dualled, although obviously the A725 spur was added much later..
The dualling to the north (with a diversion) from Nerston to just north of Cairnmuir Road, Greenlees was completed in 1970 per the 1970 Scottish Development Department Report. Cost was over £300,000. It is unclear if this includes the Nerston Bypass section, which was shown on the 1972 OS One inch map, although it seems probable. The 1972 map also shows that Kingsway in East Kilbride had been dualled, meaning that the southern end of the A749 was entirely dualled as far as the staggered crossroads at Greenlees. The 1972 map also shows the next section north to Cathkin Roundabout as either proposed or under construction. Before dualling, there had been a sharp kink at Greenlees, where the road formerly turned right onto Cairnmuir Road opposite the farm, a single curved section replaced what had been three bends in the older alignment. Although closed up where it meets the A749, the eastern part of the old road is still in place, gated, and used as a yard.
The new, dualled approach to the Cathkin Roundabout is shown as complete on the 1974 map, but oddly there is still a short section marked as single carriageway between the two dualled sections. This could be a mapping error. The dualling to the north probably dates from the construction of the housing estate to the north east of the road in the later 1970s.
As noted above, the A749 originally came to an end on the A74 at Farme Cross. Then, when the A74 was rerouted in 1936, it was extended north west along Dalmarnock Road to Bridgeton Cross, where it ended. The exact chronology of what happened next is difficult to piece together. When the A74 was diverted onto the old line of the A737 on the south side of the Clyde, the A749 was extended into Glasgow Cross. However, it is not entirely clear when the bus gate at Bridgeton Cross was installed, when the A74 was diverted onto Arcadia Street, nor when the A749 was severed in the area as it is today.