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UK road A49.svg
A49 road
Length (miles) 140
Length (km) 231
Direction South-North
Start A40 at Ross-on-Wye
Primary
destinations1
Hereford
Leominster
Shrewsbury
Whitchurch
Warrington
Wigan
End A6 at Bamber Bridge
Roads joined
Notes
  1. Primary destinations as specified by the Department for Transport.
The A49 spur to the M6 near Warrington.

The A49 is a major road in western England, which traverses the Welsh Marches region. It runs north from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire via Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Shrewsbury and Whitchurch, then continues through central Cheshire to Warrington and Wigan before terminating at its junction with the A6 road just south of Bamber Bridge, near the junction of the M6, M65 and M61 motorways.

Contents

Course Heading South

The road meets the M6 at junction 23, Haydock and the A580 East Lancashire Road. This is near Haydock Park Racecourse. It enters Newton-le-Willows and passes close to the Newton-le-Willows High School and under the Liverpool to Manchester Line railway (northern route). The road enters the borough of Warrington. At Winwick there is a separate dual-carriageway spur of the A49 which leads to junction 22 of the M6 from a roundabout.

Entering Cheshire

From junction 9 of the M62, there is a dual-carriageway into Warrington, and the road passes the Warrington Collegiate and the William Beamont Sports College and Community High School. It has a roundabout with the A50, which is its northern-most end, and passes under the Liverpool to Manchester Line railway (southern route), then has a roundabout with the A57 and passes to the east and south of the town centre of Warrington. (Its original north-south route through the town centre is now partly pedestrianised.) It passes over a roundabout with the A5061 situated on the River Mersey, then goes past Priestley College. It passes over the Manchester Ship Canal, Cheshire Ring Canal Walk and Bridgewater Canal. The road has crossroads with the B5356 and meets the A559 at junction 10 of the M56. The road enters Cheshire. There is crossroads with the A533 and the road crosses the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk and Trent & Mersey Canal before crossing the Acton Bridge swing bridge over the Weaver Navigation.

The three-mile £6m Weaverham Diversion (near Northwich) opened in September 1992. The old route is now the B5142, passing near Weaverham High School. The road passes over the West Coast Main Line railway. There is crossroads with the A556 at Cuddington and also with the A54 near Abbots Moss Hall, and the road passes through Cotebrook, near Little Budworth Country Park. The two-mile £3.8m Tarporley Bypass opened in September 1986. The A51 overlaps the A49. Tarporley Community High School is near here. The road leaves the A51. The road travels over the Shropshire Union Canal and under the Welsh Marches Line railway (to Hereford). It crosses over the River Gowy and near Bunbury. The road overlaps the A534 and crosses over the River Weaver. At Cholmondeley there is Cholmondeley Castle. It crosses the Shropshire Union Canal again. The road enters into Shropshire and is crossed by the South Cheshire Way.

Entering Shropshire

The Whitchurch bypass begins with a roundabout with the B5476, the old route through the town. The three-mile £13.7m Whitchurch Bypass (also part of the A41) opened in July 1992. It passes near Sir John Talbot's Technology College, then crosses over the railway and also overlaps the A525 (Newcastle under Lyme to Rhyl). At the end of the bypass, the road overlaps as a dual-carriageway for a few miles with the A41, then leaves the A41 at a roundabout near Prees Heath, near the former RAF Tilstock airfield. The two-mile £1.3m Prees Bypass opened in August 1988. There is a staggered crossroads with the B5065, then the road passes over the River Roden. RAF Shawbury is a couple of miles to the east, then the road passes over the Shropshire Way and through Hadnall. The Shrewsbury bypass starts at a roundabout with the A53 and A5124, then there is a roundabout with the B5062. The bypass travels over the River Severn and under the railway and overlaps the A5 at a roundabout. Shrewsbury was bypassed when the £64m east-west A5 bypass was built in August 1992.

The route leaves the A5 at a junction on the south of the bypass, with the A5112 heading into Shrewsbury. It goes through Bayston Hill. It passes near Lyth Hill Country Park, then through Dorrington and over the railway. The road follows an upgraded route through Church Stretton: the old route follows the B4370. The road meets the A489 at Wistanstow. At Craven Arms, there is the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre. At Onibury, there is a level crossing, one of only a few on trunk roads in England.

At Bromfield, the road meets the A4113, and crosses the River Onny. Near the B4365 junction the road is crossed by the Shropshire Way. The three-mile £4m Ludlow Bypass opened in the summer of 1979. The bypass passes over then under the railway, then over the River Teme. The former route of the A49 is the B4361. After the bypass, the road passes over the railway. At Woofferton, there is a T-junction with the A456. Woofferton has a large radio transmitting station with a Mediumwave transmitter for BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Into Herefordshire

The road enters Herefordshire. The one-mile £1.4m Brimfield Bypass opened in March 1983. The four-mile £9m Leominster Bypass opened in November 1988. At the southern end of the Leominster Bypass the A49 passes the Cadbury's Marlbrook chocolate factory. The road then passes by the A417 to Gloucester and makes its way up Dinmore hill past Queenswood Country Park. The south bound carriageway is 2-lane up the hill and the north bound carriageway is 2-lane heading up the other side of the hill.This can be a common section for accidents and skid-offs.

The road then swings towards Wellington with a short section of Dual-carriageway. The A49 then reaches Hereford, the only major destination on the road without a bypass. The road passes right through the city centre, causing serious congestion on both the north and south sides of the River Wye. The road then swings south-eastwards out of Hereford towards Ross-on-Wye where the road ends, joining the A40.

History of the road number

The original (1923) route of the A49 was Ross-on-Wye to Bamber Bridge (near Preston), but there have been some changes in its course. The A49 used to start on the A40 at Old Pike, a few miles west of Ross, as the original route of the A40 was through Skenfrith. When the A40 was rerouted via Monmouth in 1935, the A49 was extended to Ross.

At a later date, the A49 was rerouted between Shrewsbury and Whitchurch. The 1923 route was via Wem, but the road now passes close to Prees. Much of the current route was originally the B5064.

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