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Network changes - 1940s

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A list of the changes to the road network in Great Britain from 1940 - 1949. Includes road openings and renumberings.

Road Openings

Year Number on opening Location County Notes
1940 - Hailsham Bypass Sussex Southern section from Boship Roundabout to South Road. The Bexhill-on-Sea Observer reported that one carriageway was complete but not open on 18 November 1939. Hastings Cyclists' Touring Club used the road on 21 January 1940 but it is not known if it was open to other traffic. The dual carriageway was in place by December 1947. Shown on OS 1947 New Popular map as unclassified, then A22 on 1952 OS map.
1940 A27 Chichester Bypass Sussex Opened 11 May 1940. Work had commenced in 1938.
1940 A31 Farnham Bypass Surrey Work began on the 2 mile road in July 1937 under a £335,000 scheme for a dual carriageway. In July 1939 the workers left to build an army camp and the scheme closed down. However the works on the outer sections of the bypass were fairly advanced and in February 1940 the War Executive Committee gave approval for a single carriageway on these sections to be completed. At that stage approval was awaited from Ministry of Transport. There is reference to the bypass at a November 1940 inquest case (it may possibly have been opened later). It was also stated on the retirement of Surrey's County Engineer and Surveyor, W.P. Robinson, that the road had been of great advantage in the war. Abbey Street and Red Lion Lane were used due to the unbuilt middle section. The bypass was completed in 1957.
1940 A33 Winchester Bypass Hampshire Opened 1 February 1940
1940 A50 Uttoxeter Bypass Staffordshire Opened with a single carriageway on 26 July 1940, the second carriageway, cycle track and footpath to be completed after the War. Construction had started in June 1939.
1940 A560 Merseyway, Stockport Lancashire • Cheshire River Mersey culverted and dual carriageway built on top. Now a shopping precinct - A560 rerouted along Great Egerton Street 1966
1940 A87 Dornie Bridge Ross-shire The first bridge opened 30 April 1940. It cost £60,000 and replaced the previous ferry.
1941 A30 Redruth Bypass Cornwall The original bypass. Work had commenced in late 1938. Construction was allowed to continue at the onset of the War and was financed by Ministry of Transport. There is a report that the restricted works would be closed down in March 1941. Parts may have opened earlier. There are reports of it being used, including a police car chase, in 1942. The section from Blowinghouse Hill to Close Hill was new, then at the eastern end, it used the former B3299. Later renumbered A3047.
1941 A41 Chester Eastern Bypass Cheshire The 2 mile dual carriageway from Christleton to Plas Newton Lane, Newton was opened in July 1941. Christleton to A56 Hoole Road was new build. A56 Hoole Road to Plas Newton Lane was a widening of B5131. Use of the existing B5131 completed the bypass through Upton to Moston. Work had commenced on 31 October 1938. It had been virtually completed by November 1940 but lack of available manpower to make the junctions safe delayed the opening.
1941 A49 Church Stretton Bypass Shropshire Work on the 4.5 mile road from Little Stretton to Dudgeley Bridge began in February 1939 and was still ongoing in May 1941. It was stated in The Sphere of 26 July 1941 that the bypass had been opened a few days beforehand. It was still reported as open in an October 1941 Lichfield Mercury cycle ride report. There is one reference on the web to say that the opening was brief before being closed to allow parking for wartime military vehicles and guns. The August 1947 OS New Popular Edition map shows the line of the bypass, but it is not marked as a classified road.
1941 A446 Coleshill Bypass Warwickshire Construction started in 1937 for the River Cole bridge and 1938 for the highway. Work was suspended by Ministry of Transport shortly after the outbreak of war but in May 1940 was allowed to continue on a single carriageway, the second carriageway to be constructed later. It was reported as open on 3 January 1941. The original cost was £80,000 but was increased due to the delays. A 50 foot spinney was planned for either side of the road but deferred until the end of the war. The iconic avenue of Poplar trees was then planted.
1941 A570 Rainford Bypass Lancashire Central section opened Summer 1941. Dual Carriageway. Requisitioned by the War Department from 1943 for storage and repair of tanks and military vehicles. Re-opened after repair 13 December 1950.
1941 - Portsmouth Eastern Road Hampshire The final section from Portsea Island over Broom Channel to Farlington was opened between 1 May and 17 July 1941 (when a bus service started on the new road). The initial section from Fratton to Airport Service Road had been completed in 1924 but it took WW2, and the realisation that a second road off Portsea Island would be essential, for work to commence in 1939. The official opening by Sir Denis Daley, Mayor of Portsmouth, was delayed until 6 May 1942. The total cost was £312,789. Later renumbered as A2030. There was a third emergency crossing of Ports Creek from Hilsea Lines.
1942 A1 Birtley Bypass Durham Opened between November 1942 and February 1943. Construction on the 4.75 mile road began in January 1939 and was allowed to continue after the war had started. Cost was £350,000. There was disappointment after opening that traffic was still passing through the town. The southern section was incorporated into the route for the late 1960s A1(M) upgrade.
1942 A141 Warboys Bypass Huntingdonshire To allow for a runway at RAF Warboys to be extended
1942 B688 Oxton Bypass Nottinghamshire The 1.6 mile long section north of B6386 junction opened on 24 March 1942 and cost £37,000. Work had commenced shortly after April 1939. The southern section together with the second carriageway, cyclepaths, footpaths and landscaping was left until after the war. The southern section was built between 1954 and 1958. Later renumbered A6097.
1942 - Totnes Western Bypass Devon Work was stopped in 1942 on the bypass between A384 Ashburton Road and A381 which included the Kingsbridge Hill Diversion. £41,817 had been spent since work started in 1939 and it was known as the "Westerly Bypass". It was not opened to the public but was used by the military. Work recommenced in 1946 but was halted in March 1948. The road is shown on the 1946 OS New Popular Edition map with an X at the railway. It is unsure that there was a level crossing to allow use of the road since, later in 1948, a "spur road" to Malt Mill was built to open up the road south of the bridge. The bridge over the railway was built in 1957. Later renumbered A381.
1943 A57 A6013 Ladybower Reservoir diversions Derbyshire The construction of Ladybower Reservoir and the submerging of Ashopton village required the construction of 5.25 miles of new main and unclassified roads. Ashopton Viaduct carried A57 and Ladybower Viaduct carried A6013 across the reservoir and had been completed by 1943. They were 945 feet and 628 feet long respectively.
1944 A19 Billingham Bypass Durham Opened on 15 August 1944 by Lieut. Col. S.E. Davis, a County Council member who had advocated its building. The new road and bridge over the railway (to replace the level crossing) cost £127,000. Dual carriageway with cycle tracks and footpaths
1945 A243 Leatherhead Bypass Surrey Section 3 from A24 Dorking Road to A246 Guildford Road is shown on OS 1945 1 inch map but not on the OS 1944 Ten Mile Road Map. It may have opened earlier than 1945. A Leatherhead and District Local History Society article of 2002 stated that the work on the road was abandoned in 1940 due to the War but the Royal Canadian Engineers built a single track road and temporary bridge over the River Mole in 1941 to assist local defence. Later renumbered A246.
1945 A83 Glen Croe Argyll A new road from Loch Long, south-west of Arrochar, to Rest and be Thankful. Blasting work was ongoing in August 1939 but the programme was modified by the war. Photo captions in August 1945 stated that the new road had replaced old road - the largely single track road of the old military road which had hairpins before the summit. A list of schemes completed in the year in the Report on the Road Fund for the year 1945-46 shows "Reconstruction between Loin Bridge and Black Spout ("Rest and be Thankful") (A83) costing £147,000". The Observer of 14 May 1944 states that "Already the new road cuts out one fearsome bend of Wade's and streaks up the hillside like a ruler set aslant" and also "when it's improvement is complete". Although some of the scheme was completed by 1941, the full scheme seemed not to completed until 1945.

Other changes in 1940s

  • A3055 diverted between Freshwater and Chale, Isle of Wight to run along the coastal Military Road. The former inland route via Brighstone and Shorwell became the B3399. (N.B. the B3401 was not created at the same time - it does not appear on OS maps dated 1945 & 1946.)

Network changes - 1940s
Historical Information
1922 Road Lists Class IZone 1 • Zone 2 • Zone 3 • Zone 4 • Zone 5 • Zone 6 • Zone 7 • Zone 8 • Zone 9 • Northern Ireland
1922 Road Lists Class IIZone 1 • Zone 2 • Zone 3 • Zone 4 • Zone 5 • Zone 6 • Zone 7 • Zone 8 • Zone 9 • Northern Ireland
1935 Road numbering revisionZone 1 • Zone 2 • Zone 3 • Zone 4 • Zone 5 • Zone 6 • Zone 7 • Zone 8 • Zone 9
Republic of Ireland1977 Road Lists
Mass renumbering schemes1922 Draft Road Lists • 1924 A1 Renumbering • 1920s South Buckinghamshire Renumbering • 1933 A30 Renumbering • 1933 Scotland Renumbering Proposals • 1934 A82 Renumbering • Tyneside Renumberings • Motorway linked Renumberings • Republic of Ireland T and L roads
Network Changes1700-1799 • 1800-1899 • 1900-1909 • 1910-1919 • 1920-1929 • 1930-1939 • 1940-1949 • 1950-1959 • 1960-1969 • 1970-1979 • 1980-1989 • 1990-1999 • 2000-2009 • 2010-2019 • 2020-2029

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