|Distance:||17.6 miles (28.3 km)|
|Meets:||A90, A803, A993, A706, A993, A905, A905, M9, A9, A803|
|Old route now:||B924|
|Route outline (key)|
The A904 runs along the south bank of the River Forth inland from the Forth Road Bridge.
Section 1: Queensferry - Philpstoun
The section from here to the junction with the M9 near Philpstoun used to be quite busy, as it was one of the main routes for traffic coming south over the Forth on the Forth Road Bridge, and then heading north west to Grangemouth, Stirling, etc. Traffic heading for Edinburgh and further south used the short spur of the M9 (now the southern end of the M90) which joined the main motorway in a restricted junction, J1A, heading towards Edinburgh only.
In 2013, however, the junction between the spur and the M9 was upgraded to a full junction as part of the works for the Forth Replacement Crossing, that traffic now stays on the motorway and so the A904 is quieter.
After leaving the roundabout, the A904 heads West, initially running along the southern edge of Queensferry. This section has changed considerably in recent years with works for the Forth Replacement Crossing. After it gets out of the built up area, it then gets a 50mph limit, but is still a reasonably twisty, single-carriageway road.
We head roughly due west until we reach Newton, with a 30, then 40, limit before returning back to a 50 as we take a slightly southerly tack, with Hopetoun Wood on the right hand side of the road.
As we leave the wood behind, we have now come very close to the M9, but it's another couple of miles before we can actually join it. Before this, we have veered away from it slightly, and even when we do get the chance to join it, at junction 2, the slip-roads actually come off a side road heading to Philpstoun (the B8046), and not from us directly (We have to wait for Junction 6 of the M9 before we connect directly to it).
Section 2: Philpstoun - Grangemouth
Continuing West, we see mainly fields on both sides. After a couple of miles we pass the junction with the B9019 to Blackness, and also enter one of the two de-restricted sections on the road, which lasts until we get into Bo'ness. However, there's not much time to appreciate it just now, as shortly, we come to a T Junction outside Champany's steakhouse, with the A803 to our left, and continuation of our road to the right. Again the M9 is close by (junction 3 this time), but again we have to use another road to get to it as the slip roads start and end on the A803 before it in turn starts and ends on us. Not that we would want to join the M9 at this junction anyway, as it's a restricted junction, and we could only head back towards Edinburgh.
We head north for a short while, before curving to the left through a slight cutting, before heading down to Borrowstounness (usually referred to as Bo'ness). As we reach the outskirts of the town there is a TOTSO with the A993. The A993 takes the easy route through the edge of town whereas we turn to the right, and drop down the hill towards the coast. Just before reaching it, we turn left, and proceed to head through the town on a fairly tortuous route, with some narrow streets involved. At one point we are running directly alongside the Bo'ness and Kinneil preserved railway, right on the coast.
As we head towards Grangemouth, the land to the left of us rises up, whereas to the right it stays flat to the coast, which is never far away. This is the other de-restricted section on the road.
On the outskirts of the Petro-Chemical complex at Grangemouth, we come to a roundabout where the A905 starts, and once again, we let the other road take the easier route whilst we take the harder, town centre route.
Section 3: Grangemouth - Falkirk
We turn to the right at the roundabout and head Northwest, directly through the middle of the complex, leaving the de-restricted section as we do so, emerging at a roundabout where the B9143 joins us. From this roundabout to the next one, about 1/4 mile away, there is a short section of dual carriageway. Traffic on this bit is reasonably heavy as the B9143 leads to the M9 at junction 5 (via the A905). The road crosses the River Avon, and the second roundabout is the entrance / exit from the refinery section of the complex, and also the main entrance / exit from Grangemouth Docks for container lorries.
Leaving the docks and the Petro-Chemical complex behind (although we'll see the docks again), we now head right through Grangemouth town centre, with various side roads joining / leaving, and a pedestrian crossing to contend with.
At the other end of the town, we pass over the railway line into the docks, before arriving at another roundabout, and the other entrance to the docks. We turn south west here, heading back to the M9 through the middle of the former ICI (now Avecia) chemical complex). This section of road can be very busy in the peaks, as there are quite a few staff employed at Avecia and in the docks, and there is also an ASDA distribution centre on our right hand side.
We reach the M9 at a roundabout at junction 6 where it crosses over us on its way towards Stirling and Dunblane. At this junction, where we also see the A905 again, we can finally join the M9 directly, having been so close at Junctions 2 and 3. However, it is a restricted junction, and in fact we can only join heading West towards Stirling (there is an eastbound exit from Stirling, but it actually joins the A905 about 1/2 a mile to the west of the roundabout).
Leaving the motorway behind, we now come to another short section of dual carriageway as we travel between car showrooms to the left and an industrial estate to the right. Again, this section of road can be busy in the peaks, as it's the main route from the Motorway into Falkirk. There is also a rail freight terminal off to the left, and ASDA has a another distribution centre off the A9 Falkirk bypass, which is crossed at the next roundabout and so there is not only traffic to/from the motorway and the rail freight terminal and ASDA distribution centre, but also traffic between the two distribution centres.
At the end of the dual carriageway section we cross over a siding of the rail freight terminal, and then pass the new Falkirk Community Stadium to our left before meeting with the A9 at the roundabout mentioned above. Until recently, the A9 used to terminate here, but it now continues around the town as the 'Northern Bypass'. To the north are The Kelpies and The Helix park.
After crossing the A9, we are now in the outskirts of Falkirk, with housing to our left, and, initially, Falkirk College (followed by housing) to our right. After a couple of sets of traffic lights, we how head under the railway line from the docks, where it joins the main Edinburgh - Falkirk line.
Original Author(s): Ross Nicol
In 1922, the A904 started on the A706 in Bo'ness and headed west to Falkirk. It was extended east in the mid-1920s on the entire length of the B902 as far as the A90, which it met at the pier beneath the Forth Bridge in Queensferry. When the Forth Road Bridge was built in 1964, allowing the A90 to cross the Forth without the need for a ferry, the A904 was rerouted to its current east end so it still met the A90.