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Location Map ( geo)
The Tay Riverside
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Highway Authority
Perth and Kinross
Forward Destination on
M90, A9, A85, A90
Next Primary Destinations
Dundee • Forth Road Bridge • Inverness • Oban • Stirling
Other Nearby Primary Destinations
Edinburgh • Kincardine Bridge • Kirkcaldy
Places related to the M90
Places related to the A9
Stirling • Thurso • Inverness • Falkirk • Edinburgh • Wick • Aviemore • Newtonmore • Pitlochry • Dingwall • Linlithgow • Tain • Alness • Dunblane • Muir of Ord • John o Groats • Helmsdale
Places related to the A85
Dundee • Crianlarich • Oban • Tyndrum • Crieff • Connel • Comrie • Taynuilt
Places related to the A90
Edinburgh • Dundee • Aberdeen • Peterhead • Fraserburgh • Stonehaven • Rosyth • Kinross • Brechin • Forfar
Places related to the A93

Perth is a small historic city situated on the banks of the River Tay. For centuries, it was the lowest bridging point of the river, and at one point Scotland's Royal Family was based at nearby Scone, making Perth the effective capital city. It is often known as 'The Fair City', and is certainly a pleasant place to while away a few hours, with extensive riverside parks and a bustling and compact city centre with all of the usual shops and services. The city is not just the county town and main service centre for much of the rural county of Perthshire, it also rivals the neighbouring cities of Stirling and Dundee due to ease of access to the centre, and the setting on the Tay.

Perth lies at an ancient crossroads and today marks a change in the layout of the main roads due to the end of the motorway network. At present all routes north are largely single carriageway, although the ongoing plans to dual the A9 all the way to Inverness will change this over the next decade. The A90 to the east continues as a near-motorway quality dual carriageway towards Dundee, but the A85, A93 and A94 to the west and north are all single carriageway. These routes, and the A9 and A90 all once ran into or through the city centre, but the creation of the A989 inner ring road has long since removed traffic from the main shopping streets. The ring road has, more recently, been stretched out to the west, further reducing the impact in the centre, except along the riverside.

The history of the road classifications in the centre of Perth is surprisingly complicated. In 1922, there were 3 short connecting routes, the A920, A921 and A922. However, these were quickly dispensed with, becoming spurs of the A85 and A94. Then as the various pieces of the bypass started to fall into place in the 1970s and 1980s, there were further changes. The precise chronology is difficult to pin down, but appears to include the following:

  • The 1976 OS Landranger shows the M85 and M90 bypass under construction, with the 'motorway under construction' symbol also shown for the Walnut Grove bypass section of what is now the A90. This is probably erroneous, as it is unlikely that it was ever intended to open as Motorway. This short section of bypass is labelled as 'due to open Summer 1976', whilst the Friarton Bridge is labelled for 'summer 1977'.
  • The 1980 OS Landranger sheet shows the M90 and M85 complete, with the A93 extended in a useless multiplex over the A85 to meet the M85. This may be an error, as the route has since returned to being the A85.
  • With the completion of the M90 further south, the A912 is extended over the A90 into the city centre.
  • The 1984 OS Landranger sheet also shows a B road (un-numbered) in the city centre. This follows South Street (former A85, now unclassified) and Tay Street (former A94, now A989. As yet no map showing the number of this route has been found.
  • Sometime after the 1984 sheet, the inner ring road was moved westwards on the western flank, further out of the city on to its current route. It is not clear when the A989 number was first assigned. This map also shows the A9 bypass as projected, although the roundabouts at Inveralmond and Broxden were both in place before 1980.
The M90 and Friarton Bridge

Despite the existence of the A9 / M90 west and south bypasses around the city for through traffic, Perth is still known as a bit of a blackspot in Scotlands road network, largely thanks to the at-grade roundabout junctions of Broxden Roundabout and Inveralmond Roundabout, which seriously reduce traffic flow at two critical points. Long term plans to resolve these are hesitantly moving forward, but it could still be many years before the junctions become free-flowing. Work started in late 2016 to redevelop the St. Johnstone Interchange, where the A85 crosses the A9 bypass, and plans for the Cross Tay Link Road and Springfield Link Road to the north of the city are slowly progressing.

The M90 splits to the south of the city, and the eastern arm was originally numbered as the M85, because the road to Dundee was the A85. However, in the 1990s when the A90 was extended north beyond Aberdeen, this became the mainline of the M90, with the original route to the west of the city becoming a spur. This remains the situation today, albeit that the original Junction 11, Broxden is now known as Junction 12. Perth is still the first crossing point of the Tay, except for the Tay Road Bridge at Dundee, with the Friarton Bridge carrying the M90 (former M85) high over the river to the south of the city.

Of the other routes around Perth, the A85 heads west through Strathearn and the town of Crieff, to Crianlarich and so Oban on the West Highland Coast - this is a truly coast to coast route, and a dramatic drive of ever changing scenery. The A93 heads north, first to Blairgowrie, and then into the mountains of Glen Shee and the Cairnwell Pass, before dropping to the River Dee at Braemar. The A94 provides an alternative to the A90 as far as Forfar. It used to terminate at Stonehaven (acting as a main route to Aberdeen) and still has a strategic importance as a link to the north east. The last route stretches away to the south, loosely following the motorway through Bridge of Earn and on into Fife.

Highways Management

Most of the city's roads are managed by Perth and Kinross Council, but those on the periphery, including the A9, A85, A90 and M90 are Trunk Roads managed by Transport Scotland. The council roads are maintained by Tayside Contracts, a company which originated as the Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) for the former Tayside Regional Council. With the changes to Local Authorities in 1996, the three new councils of Perth & Kinross, Angus and Dundee City decided to retain a single DLO, providing all of the three council's services, and this survives today.


Route To Notes


Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh


Stirling, Glasgow


Inverness, Dunkeld, Pitlochry


Crieff, Crianlarich, Oban


Dundee, Aberdeen


Blairgowrie, Braemar


Coupar Angus






Related Pictures
View gallery (33)
Tay-perth.jpgTiny mini roundabout 1 (Perth) - Coppermine - 4702.JPGKenmore 15mph 2 - Coppermine - 16141.JPGM90 - Craigend.jpgGeograph-2092603-by-Dave-Fergusson.jpg
Places in Scotland
Major CitiesAberdeen • Dundee • Edinburgh • Glasgow • Inverness • Perth • Stirling
Primary DestinationsArbroath • Ayr • Braemar • Campbeltown • Coldstream • Crianlarich • Dumfries • East Kilbride • Elgin • Erskine Bridge • Forfar • Forth Road Bridge • Fort William • Fraserburgh • Galashiels • Greenock • Hawick • Irvine • Jedburgh • Kilmarnock • Kincardine Bridge • Kirkcaldy • Kyle of Lochalsh • Mallaig • Montrose • Newtonmore • Oban • Paisley • Peebles • Peterhead • St Andrews • Stranraer • Tay Bridge • Thurso • Uig • Ullapool • Wick
Other PlacesAberchirder • Aberdeen Airport • Aberfeldy • Aberfoyle • Abington • Airdrie • Alford • Alloa • Alness • Annan • An Tairbeart • Applecross • Ardrossan • Arrochar • Aviemore • Bàgh a' Chaisteil • Ballater • Banchory • Banff • Bathgate • Bowmore • Brechin • Brodick • Buckie • Callander • Castle Douglas • Clydebank • Coatbridge • Comrie • Connel • Coupar Angus • Craigellachie • Craignure • Cromarty • Cumbernauld • Cumnock • Cupar • Dalbeattie • Dalkeith • Dingwall • Dornoch • Dufftown • Dumbarton • Dunbar • Dunblane • Dunfermline • Dunoon • Duns • Durness • Edinburgh Airport • Falkirk • Forres • Girvan • Glasgow Airport • Glenluce • Glenrothes • Gourock • Grantown on Spey • Gretna • Haddington • Hamilton • Helensburgh • Huntly • Inverkip • Inveraray • Inverurie • John o' Groats • Keith • Kelso • Kinlochewe • Kinross • Kirkcudbright • Kirkintilloch • Kirkwall • Kirriemuir • Lairg • Lanark • Largs • Leith • Lerwick • Linlithgow • Livingston • Loch Baghasdail • Loch nam Madadh • Lochgilphead • Lochinver • Lockerbie • Moffat • Motherwell • Nairn • New Galloway • Newton Stewart • Pitlochry • Port Askaig • Port Ellen • Port Glasgow • Portpatrick • Portree • Prestwick Airport • Renfrew • Rosyth • Rothesay • Rutherglen • Selkirk • Stonehaven • Stornoway • Stromness • Tain • Tobermory • Tongue • Wemyss Bay • Whithorn • Wigtown

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