| M42 motorway
The A45 is a major road in England. It runs east from Birmingham past the National Exhibition Centre and the M42, then bypasses Coventry and Rugby, where it briefly merges with the M45 until it continues to Daventry. It then heads to Northampton and Wellingborough before running north of Rushden and Higham Ferrers and terminating at its junction with the A14 road in Thrapston.
Prior to the construction of the M6 motorway it was the main route from the Midlands to Ipswich and to the Haven ports. When the A1-M1 link road section of the current A14 opened in 1994 most of the A45 to the east of Cambridge was re-designated as the A14 and some sections to the west were downgraded to B-roads.
The original (1923) route of the A45 was Birmingham to Ipswich. The road was extended to Felixstowe in 1935, replacing the A139. Initially, the A45 passed through Ipswich to Felixstowe; when the Orwell Bridge was opened in 1982, the road was diverted to pass over the new bridge.
A bypass for the village of Eltisley was built in 1972, along with a bypass on the B1040 road. The 3-mile (4.8 km) £8 million St Neots Bypass opened in December 1985 on what was then the A45. When the M6 to Felixstowe route was moved and upgraded to become the A14, this bypass became redesignated part of the less important Cambridge-Coventry A428.
Bypasses and realignments
- Small Heath (Now bypassed to the south)
- Meriden (Now bypassed to the north)
- Coventry (An early bypass to the south)
- Daventry (The route now follows the ring road)
- Northampton (Bypassed, the former route being A4500)
- Higham Ferrers (Bypassed to the west of the town)
When the new A14 A1-M1 link road was opened to traffic in the mid-1990s, the Cambridge to Felixstowe stretch of the A45 was redesignated as the A14; the former A45 to the A1 was downgraded to B645; and the A1 to Cambridge section became part of an extended A428. The route through Felixstowe at the end of the A14 is now the A154.
Birmingham to Dunchurch
The road starts on the A4540 Birmingham Ring Road, bypassing Small Heath and crossing the B4145. It passes over the River Cole and meets the A4040 at a grade-separated junction at the Swan Shopping Centre in Yardley. It meets the B425 at traffic lights in Sheldon, then enters the borough of Solihull. The section of the A45 from Birmingham city centre to the M45 is all dual-carriageway—urban dual-carriageway with traffic lights until Birmingham Airport, then rural grade-separated between the airport and Coventry. The Bickenhill Junction intersects with the B4438, a dual-carriageway access road for Birmingham International Airport, the N.E.C. and Birmingham International railway station. There is a grade-separated junction with the M42 at junction 6. On this roundabout is also access to the National Motorcycle Museum. The road passes over the A452 at Stonebridge and passes over the River Blythe where the road briefly enters Warwickshire. Meriden is bypassed to the north. The Heart of England Way passes under the road, and the road enters the borough of Coventry.
The A45 becomes an urban road and skirts the south side of Coventry, crossing the B4101 at Tile Hill, West Coast Main Line, A429 and B4113. Beyond here the road takes a more rural nature, with a grade separated junction with the A46. Between here and the next junction the A45 multiplexes with the A46. Tollbar End roundabout is one of the busiest in the Midlands. It has exits for the A46 north/Coventry Eastern Bypass, Coventry Airport and B4110. Crossing the River Avon, the road re-enters Warwickshire. The A423 exits to the south-east at a GSJ near the former Peugeot factory. The A445 crosses at a roundabout near Ryton on Dunsmore, followed by another roundabout with the B4455 Fosse Way. There is a grade separated junction with the A4071 (Rugby), the final roundabout on this section is the start of the M45. For 2 miles (3.2 km) the A45 multiplexes with the M45 to a fairly new junction beyond Dunchurch.
Dunchurch to Thrapston
Heading towards Daventry, the road is a single-carriageway. The road passes two prisons: HMP Onley and HMP Rye Hill. After Willoughby, the road enters Northamptonshire, where it crosses the Oxford Canal and Grand Union Canal near Braunston. The Jurassic Way crosses the road here. The road enters Daventry, home to large distribution centres for Ford Motor Company, and Diageo. The road briefly runs concurrent with the A425 heading to Leamington Spa, then heads south-east on the Daventry bypass, called the Stefen Way. The road meets the B4038 at a roundabout where the A425 exits. The road heads west past Dodford to Weedon Bec, where it crosses the West Coast Main Line and Grand Union Canal, then meets the A5 at traffic lights. The road passes through Flore, then meets the M1 at junction 16.
The A45 resumes at the M1 junction 15, heading around the south side of Northampton. From the point as which it meets the old route at the A45/A508 GSJ, near Northampton High School, it crosses the River Nene and Nene Way, then there is a large GSJ with the A428. This section is concurrent with the A43, which exits at a GSJ near Weston Favell. The GSJ with the A5076 is also the exit for Billing Aquadrome. The road has a GSJ with the B573 near Earls Barton. The road meets the Wellingborough bypass (A509) at a roundabout. It runs concurrently with the A509 to the GSJ near the bridge over the River Nene, where the A509 exits south near Irchester Country Park. East of Wellingborough, the road crosses the Midland Main Line. There is a GSJ for the A5001 into Rushden and the route runs alongside the River Nene, offering a second turning to Rushden at a roundabout with the A5001 again. At the roundabout with the A6 near Higham Ferrers, it starts the follow the former route of the A605. The section of dual carriageway from the M1 now ends at the next roundabout. This is the start of the Raunds bypass. The next roundabout is with the B663. The route bypasses Ringstead and the A45 finishes at a GSJ with the A14 near Thrapston.
The final leg of the A45 in Felixstowe was never re-designated as the A14. It runs as Walton Avenue from Junction 62 of the A14, along Beach Station Road and ends at the junction with the terminus of the A154 at Langer Road: Ordnance Survey maps, however, show Walton Avenue as part of the A154.
A45/A46 Tollbar End
The A45/A46 Tollbar End improvement near Coventry will create a grade separated junction here as well as improvements to the Stonebridge Highway. The project was given the go ahead in the 2011 Autumn Statement on 29 November 2011.
Following the work, the main free flow route through the junction will be an underpass connecting the A45 west with the A46. It will be necessary to turn off in order to continue on the A45.
The A45 is mentioned in the song "Driving in my car" by pop group Madness in 1982. Also mentioned in the Thomas Dolby song called White City when the voice over states "Where was I? Bedfordshire. That's a lousy place, since the A45. You go round and it's utterly flat. I can't see how you can have any, any enthusiasm for that sort of thing at all... "