Glasgow to Arrochar
At forty miles long, the A814 provides a link between Glasgow city centre and the A83 trunk road at Arrochar. A road of dramatically varying design standards, it also connects the city to the suburban towns of Clydebank, Dumbarton and Helensburgh. The Clydeside Expressway, a key part of the city's 1960s roads plan, is its most strategic section and a key link between the M8 motorway and Clyde Tunnel.
Much of the route is historic in nature with rural characteristics and stunning vistas, however many of its urban sections were realigned or improved during the latter half of the 20th century.
In Glasgow, the route commences at Saltmarket, part of the A8. From here it snakes through the south of the city centre, taking in various one streets in the process. The A814 number is eventually shared between the major roads of Argyle Street and Lancefield Quay, ultimately connected by Finnieston Street north of the Clyde Arc bridge.
From Finnieston, the A814 proceeds westward as the Clydeside Expressway, a three mile dual carriageway linking the M8 at Anderston with the north approach of the Clyde Tunnel at Whiteinch. This grade separated route, with four major junctions and a 50mph speed limit, was constructed in the early 1970s as a bypass of Glasgow's west end.
West of Whiteinch, the road passes south of Victoria Park before intersecting with Dumbarton Road. Continuing westwards, the route is comprised of single and dual carriageway sections, often with on street parking, bus lanes and adjacent shops.
The Greater Glasgow Transportation Study of 1967 recommended that the entire length of A814 between Whiteinch and the city boundary be upgraded to dual carriageway by 1990. These plans were abandoned by Strathclyde Regional Council with focus switching instead to proposals for a Yoker Relief Road. The project, which would have utilised a disused railway line to the south of Dumbarton Road, was also cancelled due to a lack of public support.
A814 Construction Summary
27th April 1973
On reaching the boundary between Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire the route once again becomes a dual carriageway. In 2022, a major junction will be constructed here to provide access to the Yoker-Renfrew swing bridge across the River Clyde.
The road continues westward passing Clydebank and Yoker, becoming single carriageway once again. At Old Kilpatrick it passes beneath the Erskine Bridge and immediately to the north of the Forth and Clyde Canal. To the west of Bowling, a short stretch of the A814 multiplexes with the A82. The two separate at its junction with Glasgow Road, signposted in paint on a sandstone wall.
After passing through the centre of Dumbarton the road crosses the River Leven. From here it becomes rural in character, opening up stunning views of the Firth of Clyde and the towns of Port Glasgow and Greenock on its southern shore. On reaching Helensburgh, the road becomes urban once more, still with stunning views of the Clyde.
On leaving Helesnburgh the road turns north westwards, running along the shore of the Gare Loch. This section, upgraded by the M.O.D in the 1970s and 80s, passes the main gates of the Faslane Naval Base, home base of the UK's nuclear submarines. A "No Stopping" order is in place along much of this stretch which also features a section of carriageway constructed to 2+1 standards. The upgraded road, which continues past the A817 to the B872, acts as a bypass of Garelochead. Its modern design features are easily recognised.
The final section of A814 is mostly unimproved and narrow with poor horizontal and vertical alignment. There is no white lining in the centre of the carriageway, which is barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Skirting along the east shore of Loch Long, its views of the surrounding landscape are particularly impressive. It continues northwards, meeting the A83 in the centre of Arrochar.
This article was first published in July 2021.