|Distance:||7.2 miles (11.6 km)|
|Meets:||A8, M8, B765, A806, A752, M73, M80|
|Old route now:||M80, A803, A872|
|Route outline (key)|
Charged with linking Scotland's largest city to one of its most historic, the Glasgow to Stirling A80 formed one side of the a central Scotland triangle with the A8, A9, and Edinburgh as its third point. For all three, their own success has been their downfall as all have required a motorway replacement and over a fifty-year period have been progressively surpassed by their M-titled doppelgangers. The A80 of national importance clung to consequence longer than the other two, still ploughing a ten-mile stretch between two disjointed lengths of M80 until those ends were finally tied together in 2011.
Although the primary part of the A80 has finally fallen by the wayside, there's a fortunate twist in this story as far as this road is concerned. Namely, the anomalous treatment of the road upon its motorway bypassing is the only reason we continue to have an A80 in any guise whatsoever. The M80 replacement came in three roughly equal stretches; Haggs to Stirling (1974), Glasgow to Stepps (1992), then Stepps to Haggs (2011). While the first section of motorway built caused a later downgrade to A872, and the third obliterated the all-purpose route altogether, the nineties upgrade didn't remove the parallel A80 from the maps. What remains then is a six and a half mile stub from Riddrie, eastern Glasgow, via Stepps and Moodiesburn, to the far south-western corner of Cumbernauld.
Glasgow – Mollinsburn
From the SW, the A80 leaves the A8 in the east end of Glasgow at the corner of Alexandra Park, and strikes NE as Cumbernauld Road past Barlinnie prison, crossing the M8 at Junction 12. It heads as a mixture of urban dual and wide four lane road (although it's actually now been downgraded to become two lane plus bus/cycle lane) past Hogganfield Loch to reach Stepps. Beyond Stepps is the Crowwood roundabout, once claimed to be Scotland's busiest, and the previous end of the southern section of the M80. The road to the left, the A806, was the through route from the incomplete M80 and so the road ahead was primary and the main road to Stirling, explaining why it becomes dual carriageway here.
The A80 continues northeast, bypassing Muirhead and Chryston (partially 30 mph), and meeting the A752 at either end of the pre-bypass road - traffic lights at the southern end, and a Y junction at the northern end - providing access to the road south. A traffic-light-controlled crossroads at Moodiesburn is another interruption to the flow of traffic before the end at the new Mollinsburn Interchange, where the M80 meets the M73.
Mollinsburn – Haggs (now M80)
Before the extension of the M80 this junction was a simple fork where the M73 turned off the A80. Heading eastwards, the dual carriageway opened out to 70 mph here. Immediately after the M73/A80 interchange was another interchange serving the western suburbs of the new town of Cumbernauld. Another limited access interchange with the A8011 dual carriageway through Cumbernauld, the main part of which sat up on a hill while the A80 passed below.
Shortly after, what was once the congestion-inducing Auchenkilns roundabout was reached, where the B8048 to Kirkintilloch and the once important A73 south to Airdrie (at one time the A73's primary destination was Carlisle) meet. This roundabout was grade-separated in 2005, ahead of the rest of the route, allowing traffic to flow much more freely. Then the road seemed to get better (though still two lane dual), and at this point heading north the flow of traffic normally improved. Another interchange (almost a cloverleaf) saw the A8011 rejoin from Cumbernauld; after this the A80 descended under the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway viaduct, with an arch for each carriageway, at Castlecary (nowhere near Glastonbury), then past a turnoff for the B816 and the UFO capital of Bonnybridge, and across the brand new bridge over the revitalised Forth and Clyde Canal.
Haggs – Stirling (now A872)
Originally, it would have briefly multiplexed with the A803 from Longcroft to Dennyloanhead, before heading north along the now-A872, through Denny, to meet the A9 just south of Stirling at St Ninians.
Stirling – St Andrews (never implemented)
One of the draft proposals from the renumberings of 1935 would have seen the A80 extended east of Stirling along the entire route of the A91 to St Andrews. The suggestion has 'Agreed' noted in the margin, but was never subsequently carried through.
Stepps - Haggs motorway replacement
Construction began on the M80 Stepps to Haggs project in 2009 and was completed in 2011. This scheme consisted of three sections:
- Stepps to Mollinsburn: 8 km of new offline D2M, diverging from the existing M80 at Hornshill Junction and joining the route of the A80 at Mollinsburn
- Mollinsburn to Auchenkilns: the upgrading of 2.7 km of the present A80 to D3M from Mollinsburn to the western side of the new Auchenkilns Junction
- Auchenkilns to Haggs - the upgrading of 7.3 km of the A80 to D2M to meet up with the M80 at Haggs. Includes a climbing lane between Castlecary and Haggs on the eastbound carriageway and between Castlecary to Old Inns on the westbound carriageway.