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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (136)
From:  Greenock (NS279762)
To:  Monkton (NS365286)
Distance:  40.6 miles (65.3 km)
Meets:  A8, A770, B7054, B7025, A760, B782, B7048, B781, B7047, A738, B780, B714, A738, B779, A737, B7080, A71, B7080, A759, B746, A79, A77
Former Number(s):  A742
Old route now:  A770, A738, A737
Primary Destinations
Greenock • Irvine • Ayr
Highway Authorities

Transport Scotland

Traditional Counties

Ayrshire • Renfrewshire

Route outline (key)
A78 Gourock - Bankfoot
A78 Greenock - Monkton


The A78 in Largs
Main Article: A78/Route

The A78 is a major road that runs between Greenock and Monkton via Irvine. Hugging close to the Firth of Clyde it is a road of two halves: the northern section is mostly unimproved, passing though such settlements as Largs and Inverkip, while the southern half is a high-standard D2 and D3 dual-carriageway connecting Ardrossan and Irvine to Ayr. The A78 is one of just sixteen F99 routes that have the unusual distinction of maintaining green-signage throughout their entire length. The others are the A12, A14, A16, A17, A22, A42, A43, A45, A53, A55, A75, A83, A84, A86, and A87.


Main Article: A78 history

The A78 has had many improvements over the years. The biggest change was a rerouting of the northern end of the road in 1985, away from its original terminal in Gourock to Greenock. Most of the improvements though are on the southern section of the road starting from the Three Towns.

Notable locations and improvements

Bankfoot Roundabout

A770 view of roundabout
Main Article: Bankfoot Roundabout

Bankfoot Roundabout is where the A78 used to TOTSO before the 1985 rerouteing. Originally a T-junction and later a D2 T-junction, in 2005 it was upgraded to a roundabout and made the junction far safer.

Rothesay Ferry

The Rothesay ferry at dock at Wemyss Bay
Main Article: Rothesay Ferry

The Rothesay ferry is the southern Ferry for the Isle of Bute. It is by far the busier of the two as it docks by Wemyss Bay railway Station. The crossing takes 35 minutes.

Flood Gates

The flood gate at the south end of Skelmorlie
Main Article: A78/Flood Gates

Two sections of the A78 between Skelmorlie and Largs are controlled by flood gates as and when required. The gates do not prevent flooding, they prevent access to flooded sections of the road at the last points where diversions are available. However, the diversion routes use fairly narrow roads and are not suitable for large vehicles.

Cumbrae Ferry

The Cumbrae Ferry in 2006
Main Article: Cumbrae Ferry

The Cumbrae Ferry is the sole crossing to Great Cumbrae Island. Accessed via the B7025 it is a short 10 minute ferry and is a busy route.

Newhouse Interchange

The interchange from the south.
Main Article: Newhouse Interchange

The Newhouse Interchange marks the end of the Irvine bypass. Built in the 1970's, it is a busy roundabout.

Opening Dates

Month Year Section Notes
1962 Kilwinning Bypass The 2 mile D2 dual carriageway was opened on either 24 or 31 August 1962 by Daniel Sim, County Convener. 24 foot carriageways and 15 foot central reservation. Cost £500,000 excluding land and compensation charges.
1976 Irvine Bypass The 5.5 mile D2/D3 dual carriageway was opened on 12 March 1976 by Lord Kirkhill, Minister of State. Contractor was W. and C. French (Construction) Ltd., cost £8.75 million.
1983 Loans Bypass The 3.9 mile dual carriageway from Dundonald Camp to Monkton was due to fully open on 17 September 1983 per the Irvine Herald of 2 September 1983. Part of the road had opened earlier. Cost £7.43 million. It completed the almost 20 mile dual carriageway from Kilwinning to Ayr.
1983 Greenock - Inverkip The 2.2 mile dualling with a short diversion was completed in 1983 per the Roads in Scotland Report for 1983. Opened as A742.
1985 Greenock - Inverkip Road rerouted onto old A742 through Spango Valley.
2004 Three Towns Bypass S2+1/D2 bypass of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston
2005 Bankfoot Roundabout Junction rebuilt to roundabout


Roads UK

New Road information


NCN73 • NCN75 • NCN753 • NCN757 • T91 (Britain)
Ardrossan • Ayr • Greenock • Inverkip • Irvine • Largs • Wemyss Bay
Related Pictures
View gallery (136)
Three Towns By-Pass 9 - Coppermine - 2848.jpgBankfoot roundabout.pngThis way to Inverkip - Geograph - 2604462.jpgShore Road, Skelmorlie - Geograph - 3362640.jpgCumbrae Slip - Geograph - 5693583.jpg
Other nearby roads
Prestwick Airport
A77 • A79 • A778 • B713 (Prestwick) • B739 • B742 • B749 • E111 (Old System) • EuroVelo 1 • NCN7 • T91 (Britain)
The First 99           A1  •  A2  •  A3  •  A4  •  A5  •  A6  •  A7  •  A8  •  A9  • A10 • A11 • A12 • A13 • A14 • A15 • A16 • A17 • A18 • A19
A20 • A21 • A22 • A23 • A24 • A25 • A26 • A27 • A28 • A29 • A30 • A31 • A32 • A33 • A34 • A35 • A36 • A37 • A38 • A39
A40 • A41 • A42 • A43 • A44 • A45 • A46 • A47 • A48 • A49 • A50 • A51 • A52 • A53 • A54 • A55 • A56 • A57 • A58 • A59
A60 • A61 • A62 • A63 • A64 • A65 • A66 • A67 • A68 • A69 • A70 • A71 • A72 • A73 • A74 • A75 • A76 • A77 • A78 • A79
A80 • A81 • A82 • A83 • A84 • A85 • A86 • A87 • A88 • A89 • A90 • A91 • A92 • A93 • A94 • A95 • A96 • A97 • A98 • A99
Motorway sectionsA1(M): (South Mimms - Baldock • Alconbury - Peterborough • Doncaster Bypass • Darrington - Birtley)
A3(M) • A8(M) Baillieston spur • A38(M) • A48(M) Cardiff spur • A57(M) • A58(M) • A64(M) • A66(M) • A74(M) • A92(M)
DefunctA1(M) Newcastle CME • A2(M) Medway Towns Bypass • A4(M) • A5(M) • A8(M) Renfrew bypass • A14 • A14(M) • A18(M) • A20(M) • A36(M)
A40(M): (Westway • Denham -Stokenchurch) • A41(M) • A42 • A46(M) • A48(M): (Port Talbot bypass • Morriston bypass) • A62(M) • A88 • A99
UnbuiltA2(M) Rochester Way Relief Road • A6(M): (Western route • Eastern route) • A14(M) (Expressway) • A34(M) • A48(M) Llantrisant Radial • A59(M) • A61(M)

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