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Principal road

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Principal road
Compton village from the S Staffs Railway walk - Geograph - 833493.jpg
The A454 is a principal road
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Legally, a principal road is a motorway or A-class road that is maintained by a local highway authority – as distinct from one maintained by a national government body, which is a trunk road.

An individually numbered road may be in part a principal road and in part a trunk road. It may furthermore be in part a primary route and in part a non-primary route.

Examples of motorways – together with their maintaining authorities – which are at least in part principal roads include:

Principal roads make up approximately 80% of the A-class and motorway network.

Legal note

Note that the definitions given above are subject to confirmation as to their current application, since the meaning of the term principal road has been altered twice since its first introduction.

The term was first introduced by the Local Government Act 1966 for financial purposes. It ceased to be financially relevant following the passage of the Local Government Act 1974. The designation remains for other purposes, however – a principal road being treated under section 12(4) of the Highways Act 1980 as a classified road.



Principal road
Road Basics
Physical layoutSingle track • Single carriageway • Dual carriageway • High Quality Dual Carriageway • Road Widths • Urban Streets
Legal typesAll-purpose Road • Special Road • Motorway • Trunk road • Principal road • Primary Route • Non Primary Route • Right of Way • Unadopted road
Road numbers1922 Road Lists • Classification • Classified Unnumbered Road • Unclassified • Defunct road • Euroroutes • MoT Maps • National Cycle Network • Numbering principles • Numbering anomalies • Recycled number • Unallocated numbers • Fictional Road Numbers • Junction numbers
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