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Network changes - 1950s

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A list of changes to the road network in Great Britain from 1950 to 1959. Includes road openings and renumberings.

Road openings

Year Number on opening Location County Notes
1950 A1 Newton on the Moor Northumberland A 2.7 mile dual carriageway. Parts may have opened earlier. Construction had started in 1939, but halted due to the war.
1950 A483 Swansea Fabian Way Glamorgan 2.5 mile dual carriageway from Swansea Borough Boundary to Earlswood (where there was a ferry to Briton Ferry) had been constructed by September 1950 per and also mentioned as open in a December 1950 Western Mail. It was also known as Jersey Marine Road. Maps not seen yet to show if it opened as A483 or B4290. It was A483 after the Briton Ferry Bridge opened in 1955.
1950 A4067 Swansea, The Kingsway Glamorgan The 0.5 mile dual carriageway was opened on 1 November 1950 by Princess Margaret. It had been built across the town's bomb damaged streets and cost £80,000. Later renumbered B4290.
1950 A570 Rainford Bypass Lancashire The central section re-opened, after War Office requisition in 1943 and repairs, together with extensions to A580 in south and B5192 (South Lancs) in north on 13 December 1950. Length 5.66 miles. The scheme was for a 120 foot width incorporating concrete dual carriageways, cycle-tracks and footpaths.
1950 A85 Longforgan Bypass Perthshire The 1 mile dual carriageway was opened by Summer 1950. At the start of the year there had been a temporary opening for the Hogmanay Holiday. There were cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the road. The initial plans were approved in 1938 and revived in 1946 with a provisional cost of £60,000. Renumbered to A90 in 1994.
1953 A35 Southampton Hampshire Tebourba Way, from Millbrook to Old Shirley, was opened on 30 April 1953 by Alderman E. Burrow, Mayor of Southampton. The one mile road provided the link with Winchester Road for a west-north bypass of the town. Named after the Battle in late 1942 in North Africa of which the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment played a decisive part.
1954 B3334 Rowner Road, Gosport Hampshire 1.6 mile road from Peel Common to Rowner and improvement of existing lane to A32. It was built to allow jet aircraft to be carried from Fleetlands, where they were repaired and serviced, to Lee-on-Solent Airfield to be tested. Royal Navy Air Station Gosport runways were unsuitable for such aircraft. Cost £50,000, of which the Admiralty contributed £20,000.
1954 B5261 Blackpool Airport road diversion Lancashire The replacement inland route between Blackpool and Lytham St. Anne's was opened on 30 April 1954. The new road was built further inland to allow for a new runway at the then named Squires Gate Airport. Cost £114,500. The closed road went between St Annes Road and Blackpool Road North.
1955 A48 Briton Ferry Bridge Glamorgan The dual carriageway crossing of the Neath River and Briton Ferry Docks was opened on 31 October 1955 by John Boyd-Carpenter, Minister of Transport. It also included cycle tracks and footpaths. The river viaduct was almost 2000 foot long with 17 spans and the dock viaduct was 972 foot long with 11 spans, with a cutting through Warren Hill in between. Cost £2 million. It was the largest river bridge then built in Britain since WW2. Neath Bypass stage 1, it shortened the route to Swansea by 6 miles.
1955 A887 Loch Cluanie new road Inverness-shire • Ross-shire The 7.25 mile road from Cluanie Inn to Cluanie Dam was opened on 1 August 1955. It was built by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board as a replacement to the old road which was later submerged by the waters behind the new dam. Engineers were Sir William Halcrow and Partners of London and Inverness. Contractors were International Development Company (Nottingham) Ltd. of Newark. Later renumbered A87.
1955 B5312 Lichfield Staffordshire Then described as a bypass. A short, more direct deviation of B5312 at Levetts Field, north of station (A38 continued through town). Later renumbered as A5127.
1956 A15 Leasingham Bypass Lincolnshire The 0.8 mile road opened on 30 April 1956. Forecast cost £30,000.
1956 A34 Congleton Bypass Cheshire Clayton bypass, between Rood Hill and West Road, was opened on 3 October 1956 by Alderman J Wesley Emberton, Chairman of Cheshire County Council. It was named after Ald. T. Clayton, Chairman of the County Roads and Bridges Committee. Contractor was Messrs. Thomas Ashley of Hartford. 0.4 miles long, it included a new bridge over the River Dane.
1956 A51 Longdon bypass Staffordshire Quarter mile bypass of twisty roads in village (Longdon Green bypass opened later in 1969)
1957 A1 Alconbury to Conington Huntingdonshire First of a series of improvements to the A1 to upgrade from narrow and winding single carriageway to a full dual carriageway. The 6 mile section between B660 Woolpack Crossroads, Conington (between Glatton and Holme) and Alconbury Hill (north of Alconbury village) opened on 4 November 1957. The contractor was A. Monk and Co. Ltd. Work on dualling this section had started in 1938 as part of a Stilton to Alconbury Hill £237,000 scheme but had been suspended on the onset of war in 1939. Earthworks from this earlier scheme were still in existence when the later scheme restarted.
1957 A20 Ashford bypass Kent The 2.5 mile dual carriageway from Drovers Roundabout to Hythe Road was opened on 19 July 1957 by Harold Watkinson, Minister of Transport. It included roundabouts at each end and bridge crossings, including that of A28 built by Richard Costain Ltd.. Work had begun in 1939 but was closed down during the war. It resumed on a limited scale in 1947 but was suspended the next year. Cost £410,000. The western section, Simone Weil Avenue, was later renumbered A28 and the section east of A28 was later converted to M20.
1957 A267 Hailsham Bypass Sussex Northern section from North Street to Boship Roundabout. Shown on OS 1957 New Popular map. The Council had still to apply for the Ministry grant in August 1955. It may have opened in late 1956.
1957 A31 Farnham Bypass Surrey The 2 mile road was formally opened on 12 July 1957 by Sir John Wenham, former Chairman of Surrey County Council. This followed the construction of the middle part of the bypass avoiding Abbey Street and Red Lion Lane. Prior to this those streets had been used with the two outer sections of the bypass which had been opened in the early 1940s. The £335,000 original scheme was for a dual carriageway but only a single carriageway was built with cost £178,000. It included a flyover bridge for the A287.
1957 A303 Watergore Somerset Lopen Head – Watergore improvement
1957 A381 Totnes Western Bypass Devon The bypass between A384 Ashburton Road and A381 which included the Kingsbridge Hill Diversion was opened after the Summer following the completion of the bridge over the railway, the final part of the scheme. it was known as the "Westerly Bypass". Cost for the final stage £22,000. Part had been completed in 1942 and part opened in 1948 using a "spur road" (see 1942 entry).
1957 A5 Markyate Bypass Hertfordshire The 1.25 mile road was officially opened on 12 June 1957 by Viscountess Davidson, M.P. for Hemel Hempstead. It had been in use since late May 1957. Cost £250,000. 10,000 vehicles per day were diverted from the village.
1957 A51 Rugeley Staffordshire Western Bypass. Western Springs Road was opened on 7 June 1957 with 4 visitors from American twin town attending
1957 A52 Spondon to Hopwell Firs Derbyshire Borrowash Bypass – opened 10 December 1957 by T.R.G. Nugent. The 2.75 mile dual carriageway cost £255,000 and was the 1st stage of the Derby to Nottingham link road.
1957 A59 Longton and Walmer Bridge Bypass Lancashire 2.5 mile road, opened on 3 October 1957. It had dual 26 foot concrete carriageways with central reservation between 10 and 30 feet, a footway for two-thirds the length and two footways on the remainder. There were 3 lay-bys on each carriageway.
1957 A6 Cavendish Bridge Derbyshire Replacement to 1771 bridge, which collapsed on 21 March 1947 following floods, and temporary Bailey Bridge in the interim. Included a bypass to village. Cost £300,000. Opened 3 September 1957 by Sir Robert Martin, Chairman, Leicestershire County Council. First bridge in country constructed of prestressed concrete.
1957 A87 Loch Garry to Glen Moriston Inverness-shire Loch Loyne Diversion. The loch waters were to be raised by a dam. The original plan by the Scottish Hydro-electric Board was to carry the existing A87 from Tomdoun to Cluanie Inn over the new reservoir on a 0.75 mile viaduct. In November 1953 they instead proposed a new road along the southern shore of the raised Loch Loyne and abandoning the section to Cluanie Inn. After negotiations with Ministry of Transport they changed their proposals in July 1955 to the current 8 mile road from Achaluachrach to Bunloyne citing it would be less snowbound in winter. The inquiry into the new road was held at Parliament House, Edinburgh in June 1956. The dam and reservoir was officially opened in October 1958, the new road opening previous.
1958 M6 Preston Bypass Lancashire The first UK motorway between J29 Bamber Bridge and J32a Broughton (now M55 J1) was opened on 5 December 1958 by Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister. It was 8.25 miles long with an overall width of 112 feet and dual 24 foot carriageways separated by a wide central reservation to accommodate future widening (work on providing third lanes started in August 1965). There were 23 bridges. Cost was more than £3 million. The section between J32 Broughton Interchange and J32a Broughton later became part of the M55.
1958 A1 Stilton bypass Huntingdonshire The 1.25 mile bypass east of the village and a mile of dualling southwards was opened on 21 July 1958 by David Renton (later Lord Renton), M.P. for Huntingdonshire. It was part of a £2.5million scheme to provide 28 miles of dual carriageway from Wansford to Eaton Socon. It was the southern part of the 8 mile Water Newton to B660 Woolpack Crossroads contract being carried out by Robert M. Douglas (Contractors) Ltd. Carriageways were 24 feet wide with 10 feet wide flush verges and a 10 foot central reservation.
1958 A27 Wymering Bypass Hampshire The 1 mile long Southampton Road dual carriageway from Paulsgrove to Cosham was opened on 3 April 1958 by A.G. Asquith-Leeson, Mayor of Portsmouth. Contractor was Southern Counties Construction Co. Cost £246,520. A flyover was planned at the western end but the Ministry of Transport would not grant the funds. Later renumbered A3.
1958 A38 Lichfield to Alrewas Staffordshire Dualling
1958 A38 Bridgwater Relief Road Somerset Stage 1 - Broadway between The Clink and Taunton Road was opened on 29 March 1958 by Alderman W. Oscar Coate, Mayor. The road was 530 yards long and had two 20 foot carriageways. It included the new Blake Bridge over River Parrett, having a central span of 70 feet and two side spans of 45 feet. Estimated scheme cost was £250,000.
1958 A45 Stonebridge to Pickford Green Warwickshire The 3 mile Meriden Bypass opened fully on 30 September 1958 (the southbound carriageway had opened on 15 September 1958). The official opening was on 13 October 1958 by Harold Watkinson, Minister of Transport. Cost was £500,000 and contractor was Tarmac Ltd. Work had started in June 1957.
1958 A405 Park Street - London Colney Hertfordshire Dualling of North Orbital Road ahead of St Albans Bypass, renumbered as A414 in 1986
1958 A456 Halesowen Bypass Worcestershire The 1.5 mile bypass from A459 Grange Road to Hayley Green was opened on 1 August 1958. Costs to date were £150,000. Initially just one carriageway was opened and the other carriageway, which required further work, remained closed whilst the final funding was awaited. To compound matters one way working was introduced for 6 weeks from 12 October 1959 to allow the top surface to be put on the one carriageway in use. The second carriageway was finally opened in September 1960. Additional cost was £70,000.
1958 A4142 Oxford Ring Road Oxfordshire Eastern Bypass Stage 1 - Garsington Road (B480) to Oxford Road, Littlemore (the Henley Road A423, later renumbered A4158). The 1 mile dual carriageway was opened in July 1958. This section was built by Oxfordshire County Council using direct labour.
1958 A57 West Drayton Bypass Nottinghamshire 1.6 mile dual carriageway from Markham Moor to Elkesley. Later renumbered in 1961 as A1.
1958 A57 Elkesley to Apleyhead Nottinghamshire 3 miles of new dual carriageway and improvements to an existing single carriageway to make into dual carriageway. Later renumbered in 1961 as A1.
1958 A556 Northwich Bypass Cheshire Stage 2 - the 1.75 mile dual carriageway western section between Sandiway Bank and School Lane, Hartford was opened on 15 December 1958 by the Earl of Gosford, Spokesman in House of Lords for Ministry of Transport. Contractor was Messrs. Thomas Ashley (Contractors) Ltd, Hartford, cost £200,000.
1958 A6 London Colney Bypass Hertfordshire The 2.5 mile dual carriageway was opened on 8 November 1958 by R.A. Butler, Home Secretary. The carriageways were 24 feet wide and designed to take up to 15,000 vehicles per day. Contractor was John Laing and Son Ltd, cost £400,000. It was to be extended at both ends to form a dual carriageway from Hampstead to the former M10. Renumbered as A1081 in 1986
1958 A605 Fletton and Stanground Bypass Huntingdonshire The 0.9 mile road from Fletton Avenue to Whittlesey Road (by Oakdale) bypassing High Street and South Street was opened on 23 July 1958. Contractor was Highways Construction Co. Ltd. at cost £56,579 10s 11d.
1958 A607 Syston Bypass Lincolnshire The Syston 3 miles north of Grantham.
1958 B680 Clifton Bridge (Nottingham) Nottinghamshire The Western span single carriageway was opened on 5th June 1958 by Princess Alexander to provide a river crossing from the B679 at Clifton onto Queens Drive into the City Centre. It later became part of the A614 Nottingham Outer Ring Road. Currently part of A52
1959 M1 Watford - Crick Hertfordshire • Bedfordshire • Northamptonshire The first long-distance motorway, between Aldenham Temporary Motorway Terminal (near J5) and Crick (J18) was opened on 2 November 1959 by Ernest Marples, Minister of Transport
1959 M10 St Albans Hertfordshire St Albans Bypass – opened on the same day as the M1. Became part of A414 in 2009.
1959 M45 Rugby Warwickshire • Northamptonshire Dunchurch Spur – opened on the same day as the M1
1959 A1 Wetherby Bypass Yorkshire The 2.25 mile bypass was opened on 26 October by Ernest Marples, Minister of Transport. Cost was £560,000.
1959 A1 Stibbington and Water Newton Huntingdonshire The 2.5 mile dual carriageway included bypasses for Wansford Station level crossing and Water Newton. The carriageway was built adjacent to the existing road and carriageways were 24 feet wide. The 45 foot skew span bridge over the railway had brick faced mass concrete abutments and wing walls and a precast prestressed concrete deck beams, filled with in-situ concrete. The railway is now operated by Nene Valley Railway.
1959 A1 Catterick Bypass Yorkshire The 3 mile dual carriageway was opened on 11 December 1959 by Lord Chesham, Joint Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport. Cost was £1million and included 10 bridges - 7 using, for the first time, broad flange universal beams. It involved the largest steel beam ever rolled in Europe that was 36 by 16.5 inches in section and its 160 foot length was cut into 78 foot lengths. Work started in April 1958 and was completed in 20 months. Excavations during construction showed that the Roman town of Cataractonium, near Catterick Bridge, was larger and more important than had previously been supposed.
1959 A12 Ingatestone Bypass Essex The 1.6 mile dual carriageway was opened on 23 November 1959 by Ernest Marples, Minister of Transport. Cost £250,000. A six verse "road safety" hymn composed by the village Rector, Rev. E.F. Hudson, was sung by the church choir at the ceremony.
1959 A184 Gateshead - Felling Bypass Durham Stage 1 - The 1 mile Heworth Bypass from Shields Road to Lingley Lane opened for single carriageway running on 24 November 1959, pending completion of the dual carriageway. Durham County Council were responsible for this section and that to the Gateshead Borough Boundary, forecast cost £468,000.
1959 A23 Handcross Bypass Sussex New alignment with online dualling to Pease Pottage
1959 A38 Gloucester Eastern Bypass Gloucestershire 3rd and final section - Southern Avenue and Cole Avenue between Stroud Road and Bristol Road. Opened on 11 May 1959 by Harry Cole, Gloucester Highways Committee Chairman. He pulled a cord to unveil a plaque on the bridge over the Bristol to Birmingham railway line and when it failed to open remarked that he was not used to pulling strings. Cost £220,000. The previous sections opened in 1927 and 1938.
1959 A4 Chiswick Flyover Middlesex Opened 30 September 1959. It connected the Cromwell Road extension with the Great West Road and was almost half a mile long. Beneath it, a 400 foot diameter roundabout replaced the former crossroads with the North and South Circular Roads. Each of the flyover's 4 spans was 125 feet long with a width between parapets of 59 feet. Cost £820,000. It was planned as part of the London to South Wales motorway and it later became part of M4.
1959 A4 Newbury Inner Relief Road Berkshire Stage 1 - The 1 mile East-West section was opened on 16 March 1959 by Earl of Gosford. Single carriageway. Cost £126,000.
1959 A41 New Ferry Bypass Cheshire The 1600 yard dual carriageway on the Wirral was opened between Bolton Road and Thorburn Road on 30 November 1959 by John Hay, Joint Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport. There were roundabouts at either end. Cost £300,000
1959 A44 Wickhamford Bypass Worcestershire A 0.3 mile bypass of the dangerous bends near the Sandys Arms. It was under construction in May 1959. An Evesham Standard report on 2 October 1959 said that the new road confused some service bus drivers on route to Broadway such that they missed out the village.
1959 A48 Neath Bypass Glamorgan Stage 2. The 2.5 mile dual carriageway from Earlswood, Briton Ferry Bridge to Lon-las (west of Neath) was opened on 17 November 1959 by Major C.G. Traherne, Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan. Contractor was Cleveland Bridge Company who, in their opening day advert, described it as through a mountain and two hills, across two swamps, six railway lines, two main roads, a canal and tidal creek and completed some months early. Not mentioned was chopping into the cellar of the Vernon Arms during bridge works. It had twin 22 foot carriageways with 8 foot central reservation and footpaths. Cost £1.7 million. Later upgraded as part of M4 J42 - J44.
1959 A413 Great Missenden Bypass Buckinghamshire 2.5 mile, 33 foot carriageway road, opened 26 October 1959. Cost £235,000.
1959 A470 Whitchurch Bypass (Cardiff) Glamorgan 1 mile northern extension of Manor Way from Whitchurch Station Bridge to south of Tongwynlais completed the dual carriageway bypass. Opened on 6 October 1959 without ceremony. Cost £282,000.
1959 A4142 Oxford Ring Road Oxfordshire Eastern Bypass Stage 2 - Headington Roundabout, London Road (A40) to Garsington Road (B480). The 2.5 mile dual carriageway was opened in late 1959. Cost £1 million. The section from Garsington Road to Littlemore had been opened in July 1958.
1959 A614 Apleyhead to Ranby Nottinghamshire A 0.8 mile upgrade to the previous A614 route to dual carriageway including a new bridge over the railway at the former Checker House Station. Apleyhead is also known as Five Lanes End. Later renumbered in 1961 as A1.
1959 - Bodmin Relief Road Cornwall Dennison Road was opened on 19 May 1959 by Mrs Marshall, wife of Douglas Marshall M.P.. It was named after Harry Dennison, a benefactor to the town. There was an unfortunate accident on 23 April 1958, during construction, when a gas main was punctured and caught fire with flames leaping in the air. There were no casualties apart from a steam roller and power line pole. The road was initially unclassified, since A30 was still shown using Fore Street on OS maps during 1960s. Estimated cost £30,000. Later renumbered as A389.
1959 - London Wall Middlesex The 600 yard road between Aldersgate Street and Moorgate was opened on 7 July 1959 by the Duchess of Kent. Described as City of London Bypass and the first section of projected Route 11, a west-east route between Ludgate Circus and Aldgate. A 3 lane dual carriageway with two 12 foot footpaths and an underground carpark for 400 yards. Later renumbered A1211.

Other changes in the 1950s

Network changes - 1950s
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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