Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Holyhead Road

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The A5 London Holyhead Trunk Road is a major road in England and Wales. It runs for about 252 miles (406 km) (including sections concurrent with other designations) from London to the Irish Sea at the ferry port of Holyhead. In many parts the route follows that of the Roman Iter II route which later took the Anglo-Saxon name Watling Street.

Thomas Telford was engineer to the Holyhead Road Commissioners from 1815; his improvments of the road were one of his main achievements in road making. Telford's major roads were commodious, well-drained and incorporated a hand-pitched stone foundation beneath a layer of conventional road metal. properly engineered to provide improved lines and gentle gradients; although more expensive initially, the design facilitated traction and reduced maintenance costs. Sir Henry Parnell considered the Holyhead Road to be "a model of the most perfect road making that has ever been attempted in any country"[1]. Much of it is still in use and considered "a long-lasting memorial to Telford's skill and vision"[2].[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. A treatise on roads, by H. Parnell, 1833
  2. Thomas Telford, Colossus of roads, by A. E. Penfold, 1981
  3. Biography of Thomas Telford, ODNB