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Primary Route

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Primary Route
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Primary Route signage
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Non Primary Route • All-purpose Road • Trunk Road

A Primary Route is a road within the United Kingdom that is a part of the Primary Route Network, and is signed with green signs.

B6261 is the most well-known example of a Primary B-road

The vast majority of the Primary Route Network are A-class roads, but there are some very rare examples of short lengths of B-class roads which are Primary, such as the northern end of B6261 leading to A6 near Shap, Westmorland. The motorway network can be considered to be a de facto part of the Primary Route Network, though it is technically not. The Primary Route Network is controlled by the Department for Transport.

Primary Routes are designed to show recommended routes between Primary Destinations, which are "places of major traffic importance", usually the most important towns and cities in an area, but occasionally other destinations such as junctions, bridges, ports or airports, or even smaller towns with important junctions within them are also Primary Destinations. Primary Routes are often (though not always) the busiest routes within a large town or city. Occasionally, a road (such as A4124) that links two Primary Destinations is not a Primary Route. This is usually because a non-direct route is considered to be a better route for traffic, often because of a low bridge or some other difficulty that prevents the direct route being recommended for all traffic.

Primary Routes are often confused with Trunk Roads. Almost all trunk roads are primary throughout (with a few exceptions, e.g. the A4510) – roads outside the primary route network are typically of local importance only, and thus maintained by more local highways authorities – but the reverse is not true, because it is very common for a primary route to be owned by a local highways authority rather than a national government body. (The legal situation in England is that the Department for Transport choose which locations should be connected via primary routes; some roads owned by Highways England will provide connections, but in cases where these do not exist, the appropriate local highways authority/authorities is/are responsible for choosing which of their routes between those locations should be designated as primary, with the Department for Transport getting involved only when there is a dispute.)

There are also some unnumbered primary roads. An unnumbered primary road once existed (from 1987 to 1995) at Walton Summit: it linked the A6 to junction 9 of the M61. In 1995 the M65 was constructed over its route, but the original purpose and route are emulated by the Four Oaks Road/Tramway Lane/Walton Summit Motorway route.

Technically speaking, a primary route can be built to almost any road standard; the only requirement is that the route is strong enough to survive the passage of 40-tonne vehicles (a requirement which often requires strengthening bridges along the route). Primary routes are frequently dual carriageways, but single-carriageway primary routes are also common.

History

The concept of Primary Routes was created in 1964 with the Worboys report on signage, which created the modern United Kingdom signage system. They were created to allow drivers easily to identify the most important routes in an area.

List of Primary Routes

Main Article: Category:Primary Routes

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Primary Route
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