|Location Map ( geo)
|Lesmahagow, Blackwood, Larkhall
|23.2 miles (37.3 km)
|A702, A74(M), M74, B740, A70, B7086, M74, B7018, M74, A71, M74, B7019, A72
|Route outline (key)
The B7078 parallels the M74 in Lanarkshire.
Abington - Happendon
The route starts at the Abington Interchange, J13 of the M74 / A74(M), and resumes the former route of the A74 north through the Lanarkshire Hills. Further south, much of the route was renumebred as the B7076 with the opening of the motorway, and the similarity of the numbers means that many people don't realise it is a different route number. The change of number is due to the five and a half mile interruption by the A702, which formerly multiplexed with the A74, but took over the middle part of the route when the motorway opened. The B7078 therefore starts at the western roundabout of the junction and sweeps off to the northwest, curving around the lower slopes of Craighead Hill, before dipping down to cross the Duneaton Water on Duneaton Bridge. As with the B7076 to the south, the formation of the old dual carriageway is obvious, with the B7078 using the old south bound carriageway, alongside a cycle track on a wide grass verge.
The route straightens up as it passes below Black Hill, and about mid way along this long straight, the B740 turns off to the left, heading for Crawfordjohn and on through the Lowther Hills to Upper Nithsdale. There are a couple of properties along this section of the route, as well as a quarry and some business premises. The latter sits behind a long layby formed from the old northbound carriageway. Some long, gentle bends then curve the route around across a vast area of moorland to come alongside the motorway. The M74 runs along the valley floor, down an often wooded slope from the B7078 which is cut into a ledge on the hillside above. The two slowly converge, and then a long steady descent drops the B7078 down below the motorway level to meet the A70 at a T junction. The two routes multiplex eastwards under the M74 at J12 (Millbank Interchange), with the B7078 resuming by turning left at the far roundabout.
The route ahead is still a dual carriageway, although most of it has been hatched down to a single lane in either direction; the paint has become so worn that it is not always visible however. Just before the hatching starts, the Douglas Water is crossed on Happendon Bridge. The reason for the hatching appears to be to make access and egress from Cairn Lodge services (previously known as Happendon), which is achieved via gaps in the central reservation. These services sit roughly midway between two junctions, which are pared with J12 only having south facing slips and J11 north facing. This, theoretically, adds to traffic volumes on this stretch of the B7078, but it is rarely busy. Happendon Wood sits to the east of the route as it gently curves northwards, just about becoming a full D2 once more before reaching Poniel Interchange, another dumbbell junction with the M74.
Happendon - Kirkmuirhill
After passing under the motorway, the B7078 has to negotiate a somewhat unusual layout, whereby it effectively follows the northbound onslip, before TOTSOing left at a T junction. This takes it onto the southern end of the Lesmahagow bypass section, which was still a dual carriageway until the mid 2010s. The route now follows the old northbound carriageway, with a cycle track installed on the other side. The small Poniel Burn is crossed on Poniel Bridge, and then a row of houses sits back from the road on the right. A few more houses can be found nearby amongst the trees, but surprisingly for a rural area, there are some large industrial sites dotted along the roadside as it heads north, slowly diverging from the motorway which runs higher up the hill to the east. The rest of the landscape is of moorland fields with a scattering of scrubby trees, particularly along the roadside.
At length, a line of houses appears on the left, and the route begins to descend Carlisle Road into Lesmahagow. As it rounds a bend, the route forks to become a dual carriageway, with a council depot to the right and houses up the bank on the left. Again this dual carriageway suffers from badly worn hatching, and at one point heading north, the old centre line has reappeared between hatching on either side of the carriageway! A left turn leads into the town, while a right turn just beyond marks the southern end of the B7018. The route follows a sinuous course along the eastern edge of the town, with houses sat back behind a wide grass strip and service road on the left. An area of woodland follows, before the route negotiates a tighter left hand bend and dips down past some houses to cross the River Nethan on Milton Bridge. On the west bank of the river a GSJ with north facing slips gives full access to the town, via a couple of tight curves.
Carlisle Road then drops back to a single carriageway shortly before reaching J10 (Wellburn Interchange) on the M74. This is another dumbbell junction, with an industrial estate and supermarket off to the left. The B7078 crosses over the motorway, and turns left where the southbound offslip should be. After a short run alongside the motorway, the two diverge, with the M74 climbing a little while the B7078 drops down the hill on the old northbound carriageway. After crossing a narrow, wooded valley, the missing sliproad is met at J9, the remnants of the southern end of the original Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood bypass. Here, therefore, the route swings right, keeping to the original line of the A74, latterly renumbered as part of the A726. Carlisle Road soon winds into Kirkmuirhill, passing mid twentieth century housing, with a large church sitting on the right by a junction. There are a scattering of shops and businesses along the roadside as it winds through the town, and many of the properties are set back behind service roads, presumably due to this once having been the A74.
Blackwood - Merryton
Kirkmuirhill seamlessly becomes Blackwood near the large primary school, but the B7078 continues along the winding Carlisle Road to a mini roundabout. Here it sweeps left to cross the motorway that tightly hugs the eastern edge of the town. The right turn at the roundabout is the original line of the A74, latterly a sliproad when the bypass first opened. The B7078 follows the curvature of another former sliproad, but doesn't join the motorway. Instead, it runs alongside as far as the junction at Draffan. This was the original southern end of the M74, and the shape of the old interchange can still be seen on aerial photography, but was removed when the motorway was extended south.
For the next two and a half miles, the B7078 runs roughly parallel to the motorway, although there is a ribbon of narrow fields between them. This section of the old A74 was never widened to dual carriageway, the M74 being built instead, so there are narrow verges backed by hedgerows and a scattering of houses along the roadside. The route gently drifts down hill, with some expansive views to the west across the Avon valley, to reach the A71 at Canderside Toll. This large roundabout also forms the western part of J8 on the M74, although only one sliproad directly meets the roundabout. Continuing north along Carlisle Road, the B7078 winds into Larkhall past some industrial estates on the right, with modern housing on infill sites. On the left older council housing sits back behind a service road at first, but is soon replaced with a mixture of bungalows and older cottages.
The road widens out as it sweeps right then left between houses on Machan Road. This drops down the hill onto a longer straight that leads into the town centre. After passing through two closely spaces signalised junctions, Church Street is unusually (for a town centre) lined with old single storey cottages. The church then sits back on the right, with shops beginning soon after as the route passes through another set of lights. Union Street beyond is the main shopping street, and wide enough for parking on both sides. After a fourth signalised junction, the B7078 follows London Street, and the shops soon come to an end. Houses take over, with a park on the left. The B7019 then comes in from the right at more signals, with the junction situated above a railway bridge. A little further along, a roundabout gives access to modern housing estates, and before long the edge of town is reached, with the route stretching out across fields. Half a mile later, however, the B7078 comes to an end at a TOTSO junction with the A72, which continues ahead into Hamilton.
This route was formerly the A74. The northern end (Draffan to Larkhall) was superseded by the M74 in 1966 but was not downgraded until the early 1970s, whilst the section between Draffan and Uddington was downgraded in 1987 when the M74 was extended to the south. This section remains a dual carriageway through Lesmahagow and also between J11 and J12 of the M74. The southernmost section, Uddington to Abington (J12 - J13 of the M74), was downgraded in 1991 and was converted to a single carriageway and cycle track several years later.