|Location Map ( geo)
|40 miles (64.4 km)
|A8, A77, A804, M8, B808, A739, A741, A8014, B814, A878, A82, B830, A812, A818, B872, A817, B838, A83
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
It is difficult to imagine a route which can change so much in under 40 miles, from a high speed inner city dual-carriageway to a country lane sauntering up the side of a loch. That's the A814. Then again, the A82 does the same a few miles away!
Section 1: Glasgow – Clydebank
The eastern end of the road is Clyde Street, which starts at a light-controlled junction with the westbound leg of the A8 - the junction of Clyde Street, Crown Street (Albert Bridge), and Saltmarket - less than half a mile from Glasgow Cross. The A814 heads west along the north bank of the River Clyde as a one-way street, pairing up with the one-way Bridgegate which is part of the A8. It then becomes two-way after crossing the eastbound leg of the A8 at Victoria Bridge. Now it continues under the main rail tracks heading into Glasgow Central station, where it meets the two arms of the A77 either side of the rail bridge over the Clyde, and becomes the famous Broomielaw. In years past Broomielaw was the departure point for holiday makers heading to the Clyde coastal resorts on the many steamboats that plied these busy routes, and before that it had been the arrival point for many economic migrants from the Highlands and Islands seeking employment in Glasgow.
Mid way along the Broomielaw, the A814 splits and takes two different routings:
The southern route continues along the Clyde and becomes Anderston Quay as it passes beneath the Kingston Bridge, which, high above, carries the M8 motorway across the river, and at ground level, the A804 runs beneath to terminate on the A814. It then becomes Lancefield Quay to a junction with Finnieston Street at the northern end of the Clyde Arc, where it heads north to join the northern route at a grade-separated junction on the Clydeside Expressway. For much of this section a two-way bus lane runs along parallel to the A814 between it and the river. This involves two right turns for city bound buses, and has no connection with the A804. It starts just before the split, opposite York Street, and rejoins before the Hydepark Street junction.
The northern route turns north from the Broomielaw as James Watt Street before turning east as Argyle Street to Anderston Cross. James Watt Street is one way towards the river, and while the parallel Brown Street is one way in the opposite direction, it does not appear to be part of the A814. Argyle Street starts off as S4, but widens out to a full dual carriageway as it approaches the A804 junction under the motorway. At this point slip roads to and from the M8 Anderston Interchange also meet the road. Prior to the building of the M8 this was a vibrant residential area which was obliterated to make way for the motorway; all that now remains is the suburban low-level railway line and its station. Continuing west, nominally as Stobcross Street, but generally known as the Clydeside Expressway, the southern routing is met at a grade-separated junction close to the S.E.C. (Scottish Event Campus, previously the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre).
The combined routes now continue west as the Clydeside Expressway which was opened in 27th April 1973. Its next junction used to be a large roundabout where it met Ferry Road. However, there is now a complex new junction set near here, serving an area of riverside development, and a new parallel bridge across the River Kelvin, but ironically not connecting to Ferry Road at all. This new junction only has east facing slips, the new parallel bridge linking up to the next junction at Hayburn Street, which is a grade-separated junction with the B808 for the Partick district. A short distance further on we cross over a roundabout junction with the much older Dumbarton Road and immediately after this rise up over the A739 at the complicated grade-separated Whiteinch Interchange, providing access to the south and the Clyde Tunnel or the north and Anniesland Cross. Intriguingly, only one lane is provided in each direction for traffic staying on the A814, and the two flyovers are very separate structures!
The road then drops back to street level as Victoria Park Drive passing Victoria Park with its fossilised trees to the north and the conservation area of Whiteinch. At a roundabout the road meets and becomes Dumbarton Road, having largely by-passed that road to this point. Dumbarton Road is, of course, the former line of the A814 prior to the construction of the Clydeside Expressway, and was originally classified as the A82, before the Great Western Road was opened. The A814 continues west along Dumbarton Road through the districts of Scotstoun (where it met the former A806), Scotstoun West, and Yoker where it passes the northern end of the A741 down to the (pedestrian only) Yoker Ferry.
Section 2: Clydebank – Helensburgh
Crossing into the town of Clydebank as Glasgow Road and continuing west it passes ship yards and the magnificent Clydebank Town Hall before becoming Dumbarton Road once more. The roadside is still lined with a mix of industrial and residential, often in the form of the distinctive Glasgow Tenement Blocks, many with businesses on the ground floors. Some post war blocks fill in the gaps, as Clydebank suffered badly from bombing thanks to its importance as a port and ship-building centre. For much of the route so far the road has alternated between S4 and D2, although invariably only one lane each way is open to traffic thanks to a mixture of parked cars, bus lanes and turning lanes. After the town hall, however, any pretence and two lanes of traffic is lost and the road becomes a wide S2 with occasional turning lanes. After passing through the districts of Dalmuir and Dalmuir West, where the Terminus Store marks the one time western end of the Glasgow Corporation Tramways system, the road does briefly become dualled once more, as far as the next roundabout.
Starting to become a little more rural in nature, the road passes under the A898 Erskine Bridge, after which a road goes off to the right, numbered (depending on which map you look at) as the A878 or a spur of the A814 - either way it doesn't actually link to the A898 but to the A82 at the Old Kilpatrick Interchange. The A814 mainline continues ahead through the village of Old Kilpatrick, before crossing over the railway and briefly taking a parallel course to the A82, with access to the westbound carriagway only at the Gavinburn Switch junction. Just over a mile further west and full access is found at the Dunglass Roundabout, after running through the village of Bowling. The two roads multiplex for a mile through Milton before diverging again at the Dumbarton Fork, close to the Dumbuck Quarry, the A814 heading west through Dumbuck, and the eastern suburbs of Dumbarton as Glasgow Road.
The road into Dumbarton first passes between a block of Bonded Warehouses, before becoming more residential. A small roundabout provides access to the retail park, and just beyond the road widens out to dual carriageway again as it takes the town centre relief road. The B830 is met at a large, and busy, 5-arm roundabout, beyond which the road quickly narrows down again to cross the River Leven on Dumbarton Bridge. At Dalreoch Station the A812 joins from the north, and the A814 continues west through Westcliff and Castlehill. Incredibly, perhaps, the A814 originally started at the junction at Dalreoch, the rest of the route so far being part of the A82 in 1922. Leaving Dumbarton as Cardross Road it runs through open countryside beside the River Clyde with views over to Port Glasgow, Greenock, and Gourock. The village of Cardross is quickly passed as the road turns north west. The district of Craigendoran is next, followed immediately by the larger town of Helensburgh, a bustling Victorian resort town still serving daytrippers from Glasgow and beyond. The A814 is never far from the Clyde shore as it passes through the town, first as East Clyde Street, then as West Clyde Street, after the signalised junction for the A818. The town is a fine place to stop on a sunny day and promenade along the sea front - there are Ice Cream sellers and coffee shops to choose from depending on the weather, and plenty of benches to sit and relax while watching the world go by.
Section 3: Helensburgh - Arrochar
Leaving Helensburgh behind, the A814 is a wide two-way road which follows the Gare Loch the road north west through the villages of Rhu and Shandon. In Shandon, the road has clearly been rebuilt closer to the shore, the old road remaining as a series of property accesses connected together by a cycle track. Shandon is barely behind us when the Faslane naval base looms up ahead, completely blocking any access to the shore. The large blocks of flats and massive port structures seem out of place after the genteel delights of Helensburgh and Shandon. The road is forced to climb a long straight up and over the hill behind the base before completely by-passing Garelochhead, all of which is new built road to allow Faslane to develop.
The Garelochhead bypass is part of the same road improvements as the A817, a Cold War military road built in the 1980s connecting the Clyde Submarine bases with the trunk A82 at Loch Lomondside. The old route through Garelochhead (still signed as the A814 on some approach signs) is the B872; signs on the bypass give the bypass's number as "(A814)". At the northern end of the bypass, the final piece of the military road network leads across the hills to Coulport at the end of the B833. This road is not classified, as it is still technically a military road albeit open to the public. All three of the roundabouts where the bypass meets the B872, A817 and the military road to Coulport are built as "hamburgers", with a road through the middle taking the Faslane <-> Coulport line, but normally blocked by gates.
Beyond the bypass, the quality of the A814 steadily deteriorates, long forgotten is the Clydeside Expressway as this unimproved stretch of road twists and turns over blind summits in a steady descent towards the shores of Loch Long. The village of Portincaple is soon passed, and after crossing the railway, the road makes the final descent to the shore at the entrance to the Finnart Oil Terminal, another piece in the Clyde Military facilities. The final descent sees the road narrow further and lose its centre line, despite seeing large vehicles using it. One on the shore, the road remains there for the rest of the journey to Arrochar. However, this is not as pleasant as you may think! The views through the trees can be pretty stunning, and there is the prospect of seeing large ships moored, possibly even at the military pier, but the road won't let you look away for long. It is a real rollercoaster, going up and down, left and right, with some of the bends so quick that it is virtually impossible to stay in your half of the narrow carriageway. Add to this a seemingly endless procession of slow moving vehicles throughout the summer, and 40mph seems unreachable! Nevertheless, it is fun to drive, and makes an interesting change to the dull monotony of the A82 from Balloch to Tarbet.
Presently the road reaches Arrochar at Tighness where the B838 heads off to the right to cut off the corner to the Tarbet-bound A83. The A814 bears left into the village to meet the A83 itself close to the head of the loch. Turn left for the Argyll peninsulas, or right for the quick way back to Glasgow.
Originally, the A814 started on the A82 in Dumbarton. In 1934, the A82 was diverted onto the relatively new Great Western Road out of Glasgow, so the A814 was extended along the ex-A82 into Glasgow. See A82/Great Western Road for more details on the renumberings.
There have obviously been many changes to the route through Glasgow since then, not least the construction of the Clydeside Expressway. Previously, the A814 follows Argyle Street through the city centre and then Dumbarton Road as far as Whiteinch. The route through Clydebank and out to Bowling is largely unchanged. In Dumbarton, the A814 originally ran through the town centre and crossed the old Dumbarton Bridge. The road through Helensburgh has only seen minor changes, but from Rhu there is clear evidence that the road has been rebuilt, as noted above. The old road line then went through what is now Faslane base, but clearly had to be moved to allow the base to develop, and so from Rhu to the north end of Garelochhead the whole route is new. Sadly, no improvements have been carried out on the last 9 miles to Arrochar however!
|The 2 mile road from the current B872 junction to north of Shandon was completed in 1967 per the 1967 Scottish Development Department Report.
|The bypass of Monaebrook Place, east of Helensburgh, was completed in 1968 per the 1968 Scottish Development Department Report. Cost was £198,000.
|Duncan Avenue to Whiteinch Interchange (Glasgow)
|The dual carriageway beside Victoria Park was completed in 1969 per the 1969 Scottish Development Department Report.
|Clydeside Expressway (Glasgow)
|The 3.5 mile dual carriageway between Whiteinch Interchange, Partick and M8 J19 Anderston Interchange was opened on 27 April 1973 by Glasgow’s Lady Provost Mary Gray. It connected the Clyde Tunnel with the motorway inner ring road. Pointhouse Bridge had been completed in 1969 leaving the remaining 2.19 mile section between Lancefield Street on Stobcross Street to Broomhill Avenue on Dunbarton Road to be completed in 1973. Carriageways were 7.3m wide. Consulting engineer was Sir William Halcrow and Partners. Contractor was Balfour Beatty & Co. Ltd., forecast cost £5.75 million. The interchanges at both ends had been built previously.
|Dumbarton: Artizan Bridge
|Relief Road - Stage 1: the new bridge over River Leven and 0.37 mile road reconstruction westwards to Dalreoch were completed in 1974 per the 1974 Scottish Development Department Report.
|The 2.2 mile road from Faslane Roundabout to Whistlefield Roundabout was completed in January 1988. Together with the Northern Access Road (NAR) it provided a 11km route from CSB Faslane on Gareloch to RNAD Coulport on Loch Long. Part of a 28km road network to support Clyde Submarine Base. Carriageway width was 7.3m and S2 north of Glen Fruin Roundabout, and 10m wide and S2+1 to the south. Consultants were SWK (Scotland). Contractor was Miller Construction, cost £6.3 million. Funded by Ministry of Defence.