|Location Map ( geo)
|Transport Scotland Roads
|Places related to the M8
|Places related to the A89
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|Places related to the A705
Bathgate is the largest of a group of four towns lying to the west of Livingston in West Lothian. To the west lies Armadale, to the south Blackburn and to the south west Whitburn, thus the four settlements form a rough square shape with some open spaces between, although this is diminishing. Historically, Bathgate always seems to have been the largest settlement here, and was considerably larger than Livingston before the New Town was developed in the 1960s. Bathgate also saw substantial growth in the 1960s, following the establishment of the Leyland factory to the south of the town in 1961. This was designed to alleviate unemployment following the demise of the traditional local industries which largely centred on coal mining. This factory itself was closed down in 1986, and housing now covers the site, although large industrial estates and business parks now cover a large area to the south and east of the town.
When the roads were originally classified in 1922, the A8 passed through the centre of Bathgate on its way from Edinburgh to Glasgow. However, it was quickly realised that these two important cities needed a better connection, and so between 1924 and 1932 the new Glasgow to Edinburgh Road was built, partly using existing roads and partly on a new alignment. Bathgate was bypassed by a new alignment to the south, and the old A8 renumbered as the A89 in c1933. Since then, the Glasgow to Edinburgh Road has itself been bypassed by the M8 motorway, and so the old A8 has been renumbered past the town as the A7066, with the A89 extended to the east and the A706 diverted along it to the south west of Bathgate. The town has also been home to the short A800 since 1922, a route whose number sounds important, but which carries no more traffic than many B roads these days, and is a relatively minor route heading north from the town centre.
There are also a number of B roads in the town. In 1922, only the B708 existed, connecting the A8 and A705 to the south east of the town. However, by the mid 1930s this had been extended westwards to Armadale and the B792 and B7002 had been added to the towns network, following much the same routes as they do today. In the 1980s, the A801 was extended south between Armadale and Bathgate as part of a new, but sadly never completed, strategic link between the M8 and M9 motorways. The missing link across the Avon Gorge is a serious bottleneck on what is otherwise a high quality and busy route. The construction of the A801 saw the old A706 route through Armadale downgraded to be the B8084.
Other local routes include the B7066 and B7069 in Whitburn, the A705 which starts in Whitburn and heads east through Blackburn into Livingston, and the A779, which provides a series of link roads at the Starlaw Interchange to the south east of Bathgate. For a number of years, the A7002 also existed, but became part of the A801 when that route was extended.
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