B72 (Northern Ireland)
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||30.1 miles (48.4 km)|
|Meets:||A5, B85, B536, B165, A5, B164, B50, B4, A35, A47|
|Former Number(s):||A5, B50|
|Old route now:||unclassified, B136, A47|
|Route outline (key)|
The B72 is a long B-road in west Northern Ireland.
The road originally started on the A5 in the centre of Strabane. However, with the building of the A5 bypass the B72 was extended north along Derry Road to meet the bypass. From its pre-bypass northern end in the centre of Strabane the B72 heads south along Meetinghouse Street and Townsend Street alongside the Mourne River as far as a T-junction at Victoria Bridge. To the left is the B165 and the B72 TOTSOs right to cross the actual bridge into the village centre to reach a mini-roundabout. Again, this is a bypassed section of A5, now unclassified. Southbound traffic for that road is signposted to the left and northbound traffic ahead along the B72. The road quickly goes under the bypass, after which a one-way northbound onslip heads off to the right (this is the only slip road here; all other movements need to use the old road).
The B72 now heads southwest across the fields. After a couple of miles it meets the B164 and then reaches Castlederg. The road splits at a mini-roundabout. The right fork, signposted Town Centre, runs along Upper Strabane Road into the market place's one-way loop and TOTSOs left; the left fork, signposted All Other Routes, runs along Strabane Road to meet where the former ends up, at another mini-roundabout. Originally this was the beginning of a multiplex along the B50 but that road has now been truncated so the B72 has taken over its route through Castlederg. It heads south to cross the River Derg and reach what is now the northern end of the B50 at a mini-roundabout.
The B72 continues southwestwards. After going through Killen it climbs up into the hills and becomes quite winding on the descent. Presently the road reaches Ederny and a mini-roundabout on the B4. There is then a multiplex west for about a mile before the B72 regains its number by turning left. It runs south to Manoo and a short multiplex along the A35 (where the B72 has priority at both ends) before bending round to the right and ending at a T-junction on the A47 (former B82).
The above route (the extension in Strabane notwithstanding) only dates back to the mid-1920s. The 1923 Road Lists state the route of the B72 as Strabane via A5, Victoria Bridge, Castlederg, Pettigo, and Belleek to Bundoran. This follows the current B72 from the centre of Strabane as far as the hills to the southwest of Castlederg. The route from here to Belleek, however, is not accurately known. From there to Bundoran lay entirely in County Donegal and therefore would not have been part of the B72 anyway.
Assuming that the B72 did go through the centre of Pettigo, the obvious route for the road is along the now-unclassified Scraghey Road. This crosses the border five times (this could explain why the road was rerouted) before reaching Pettigo, eventually reaching the T35 (now R232). There would then be a short multiplex west through the Donegal countryside before the route turned onto what is now the R234 and the B72 reappeared at the border. It then ran along what is now the B136 and A47, to end on the border at Belleek.
In the mid-1920s the A47 was inaugurated as the road east of Belleek, across the new Boa Island Causeways to reach the A35 near Kesh. This new road took away the raison d'être of the B72 through Pettigo and hence the road was rerouted to the east and the cross-border road was declassified. The B136 was created a few years later taking over that part of the Pettigo-A47 road in Fermanagh.