The A55 – everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about the road!
The A55 – also known as the North Wales Expressway – is a major route taking in many key locations across north Wales. For many people travelling through North Wales, this is the fastest, most convenient, and preferred route to take.
Where does the A55 start and end?
Its easternmost end is at Chester in England. At the western end, it is possible to drive all the way to the ferry port at Holyhead. The total length covers 87 miles.
Which Welsh counties does the A55 run through?
It travels through the following areas:
• The Isle of Anglesey
When was the A55 constructed?
The road was built in 1922 and was designed to stay close to the original Roman road that went from Chester to Caernarfon. Over the years, various improvements have been made to the road. These included the Chester Bypass, built in the Seventies to provide links to the M53.
Stretches of the original single-carriageway design were turned into dual carriageways in the Eighties to improve the flow of traffic. This was completed between Chester and Conwy.
Tunnels have also been constructed over the years to further improve the route. The road passes under the River Conwy via a sunken tunnel, while other tunnels were completed at Pen-y-Clip and Penmaenbach (both to the west of Conwy).
Notable sights along the A55 North Wales Expressway
One of the finest must surely be the Britannia Bridge, which crosses the Menai Strait from Caernarfonshire into Anglesey. It dates from 1850 but was rebuilt in the Seventies following a fire.
While you go over the water on this occasion, you’ll go under it when travelling through Conwy Tunnel. Built during a five-year period from 1986, it opened in 1991, and ranks as Britain’s first tunnel built from submersed tube sections.
Nearby towns to visit in North Wales via the A55
Many notable locations are easier to reach when travelling to or through North Wales via the A55:
• Rhyl – around 10 miles from the A55 if you leave via the A525 exit
• Colwyn Bay – the A55 runs right past the town, offering easy exit points
• Llandudno – around four miles from the A55 when exiting at the Glan Conwy Interchange for the A470
• Conwy – travel through the Conwy Tunnel and exit for the town, or leave earlier via the A546, turn left onto Conway Road, and go across the Conwy Suspension Bridge
• Holyhead – follow the A55 all the way to its westernmost end, to reach the town and ferry port, offering connections to Dublin, Ireland
In short, if you intend to travel anywhere in North Wales, the A55 North Wales Expressway often provides a faster way to get there. With various exits to other parts of Wales, it is possible to cut your journey time to other locations in Wales too.
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