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The A46 is an A road in Englandmarker. It starts east of Bath, Somersetmarker and ends in Cleethorpesmarker, North East Lincolnshiremarker, but it does not form a continuous route. Large portions of the old road have been lost, bypassed, or replaced by motorway development. Between Leicestermarker and Lincolnmarker the road follows the course of the Roman Fosse Way, but between Bath and Leicester it follows a more westerly course.


The original (1923) route of the A46 was from Bath to Lacebymarker, passing through Cheltenhammarker, Broadwaymarker, Stratford-on-Avonmarker, Coventrymarker, Leicestermarker, Newarkmarker and Lincolnmarker. Unusually for such a long road, no changes were made to its route until the 1970s. In recent years the central sections of the road have been rerouted and renumbered substantially, and there are now two sections where there are gaps of over 10 miles (15 km) where the road does not exist at all. The A46 has also been extended from Laceby to Grimsbymarker and Cleethorpes - the road between Laceby and Grimsby was originally part of the A18.

The major realignments have been
  • Between Coventry and Leicester the original road was downgraded to the B4065 and the B4114 as a result of the opening of the M69 motorway in 1977.
  • Between Cheltenham and Stratford-on-Avon the road was realigned in the 1980s through Eveshammarker on the former route of the A435 and A439. The original route through some of the most picturesque parts of the Cotswold Hillsmarker was downgraded to the B4632.
  • The route was subsequently cut between Cheltenham and Teddingtonmarker and that section became the A435 again. The A46 was diverted to connect with the M5 motorway on part of the former route of the A438.
  • Between Evesham and north of Stratford the route was again realigned to run by Alcestermarker and by-pass Stratford, partly on the former line of the A422. The previous route through Bidford-on-Avonmarker to Stratford became the B439, and north of Stratford the old route became the A439.
  • A new alignment was built from Junction 21a of the M1 to by-pass Leicester to the north. The old route through Leicester was redesignated the A5460 (Narborough Road, in the southwest) and A607 (Belgrave Road/Melton Road, in the northeast). The A607 deviates from the straight course of the Fosse Way, bypassing the village centres of Thurmastonmarker and Systonmarker.
  • The A46 was realigned to by-pass Warwickmarker, Kenilworthmarker and Coventry, and the old route was redisignated the A429 and the A4600.

Bypasses were also built around Market Rasenmarker, Lincoln and Newark.


Cleethorpes - A1 (Newark)

The A46 starts at a roundabout with the A1098 and the A180. It meets the A1031 at a roundabout and passes the King George V Stadium on the right. It meets the B1213 from the right, then crosses the A16marker Peaks Parkway. It heads into Grimsbymarker, meeting the A1243 Bargate (former A16). It meets the B1444 where the road becomes a dual carriageway. It meets the A18 at a roundabout. This was the old terminus of the A46, and what is now the A46 heading east into Grimsby used to be the A18. The road becomes the single carriageway road once again and crosses the north part of the Lincolnshire Woldsmarker. It bypasses Irby upon Humbermarker and enters Lincolnshiremarker. It bypasses Swallow to the North. It climbs a hill to meet the B1225, A1173, and A1084 just east of Caistormarker. The road crosses the Nottingham - Grimsby railway at a level crossing. The road becomes very straight and flat, passing though Middle Rasen Plantation and meets the A1103 from the right. The A631 leaves to the right at a T junction. The road bypasses Dunholmemarker to the south then it passes close to the former RAF Dunholme Lodgemarker. It passes the headquarters for Lincolnshire Police on the left. It meets the A158 (for Skegnessmarker) and the B1182 (former route into Lincoln) at a roundabout.

The A46 Lincoln Relief Road is concurrent with the A15. The A15 leaves to the right at a roundabout. The road becomes dual carriageway and traverses the Lincoln Cliffmarker. It meets the A57 at the Carholme roundabout and crosses the Lincoln - Gainsborough railway. After bypassing Lincoln, it starts following the route of the old Fosse Way (bar bypasses). The A46 passes the former airfield of RAF Swinderbymarker. The road becomes the boundary of Lincolnshire and Nottingham for a mile. The road enters Nottinghamshiremarker and the road bypasses Broughmarker. The new section of road finishes at the roundabout with the A1133. The A17 joins from the left at a roundabout.

A1 (Newark) - M1 (Leicester)

The road crosses the A1marker. Newark is bypassed to the North and West ending on a roundabout with the B6166. The road continues south-west, meeting the A6097 and A52 near Bingham. This single carriageway section is lined with SPECS speed enforcement cameras. At the A606 junction the A46 becomes dual carriageway, heading South still following the route of the Fosse Way. The road crosses the A6006 North of Six Hills. Syston is bypassed to the West, and at a roundabout with the A607 the route continues in a Westerly direction onto the Leicester Western Bypass. There are grade separated junctions with the A6, A5630 and A50. This section of the road ends at a junction with the B5380, with the forward route flowing on to the M1. It originally continued towards Coventry until the opening of the M69 motorway in the 1970s, which replaced the A46 as the main route between Leicester and Coventry, with the former A46 being downgraded.

M6 (Coventry) - M5 (Tewkesbury)

The A46 junction for Stoneleigh and the University of Warwick

The A46 reappears at Coventry at junction 2 of the M6, it follows the boundary between the district of Rugby and the borough of Coventry, always staying inside Warwickshire. At Binley Woodsmarker the A428 is crossed at a roundabout. The next roundabout is signal controlled and known locally as Tollbar End where there are exits for the A45 and Coventry Airportmarker. At Stivichall interchange, the A46 takes the southern exit on to the three lane Kenilworth bypass. Along the bypass there are exits for Stoneleigh and the University of Warwickmarker, Kenilworthmarker and Leamington Spamarker (A452). At the Warwickmarker (A429) exit, the bypass drops down to two lanes, closely followed by an exit for the A4177 and Warwick Parkway railway stationmarker. The M40 is crossed at the Longbridge roundabout, currently undergoing works to create a bypass for A46 traffic.

The dual carriageway section south of Longbridge island is the only part of the A46 on its original routing between Leicester and Cheltenham. Stratford is bypassed to the north as a single carriageway road, crossing the A3400 and meeting the A422. Between here and Alcestermarker the A46 is concurrent with the A422, with the A46 taking priority. Alcester is bypassed to the south of the town. At a roundabout the A435 leaves to the North for Redditch and Birminghammarker. The A46 takes a dual carriageway route to the south towards Eveshammarker, meeting the B439 at a roundabout near Bidford on Avonmarker. Near Harvingtonmarker, it enters Worcestershire and the district of Wychavonmarker. At the northern end of the Evesham bypass, the A44 joins at a roundabout and becomes concurrent with the A46. The next roundabout on the bypass is the B4035, followed by the A44 (for Oxfordmarker), The final roundabout on the bypass is with the A4184 and the A46 continues to head south. The villages of Sedgeberrowmarker (bypassed) and Beckfordmarker are on the route. At the Teddington Hands roundabout, the A435 heads south to Cheltenhammarker, while the A46 heads west. It passes Ashchurchmarker close to Ashchurch for Tewkesbury railway stationmarker. This section of the A46 ends on the M5 roundabout at junction 9.

Cheltenham - Bath

a Fingerpost sign along the A46 in South Gloucestershire.
Near the junction with the M4

After a gap filled in by the A435, the A46 reappears on its original route in the centre of Cheltenhammarker. It then heads through Stroudmarker, through Nailsworthmarker, to the M4 motorway. From the M4, the A46 heads to Bathmarker, ending at its junction with the A4marker to the east of the city. The three-mile (5 km) £45 million dual-carriageway Batheastonmarker/Swainswickmarker Bypass, opened in summer 1996, contains of the A46. A small section of this strip of the A46 between Painswickmarker and Stroudmarker subsided during the floods on Friday 29 July 2007 and was shut for over 6 months, causing quite an impact on the local area. The road re-opened on 15 February 2008.

Former routes

Bypasses and realignments

  • Lincoln (Bypassed, now A1434)
  • Newark (Bypassed, now B6166)
  • Syston (Bypassed, now unclassified)
  • Leicester (Bypassed, now A607 and A5460)
  • Coventry (Bypassed, now A4600 and A4114)
  • Kenilworth and Warwick (Bypassed, now A429)
  • Stratford (Bypassed, now A439)


  • Leicester - Coventry (Downgraded to B4114 upon opening of the M69)
  • Stratford - Cheltenham (Downgraded to B4632 upon diversion of route via Alcester and Evesham)


Under construction

  • M40 Longbridge Island bypass, a dual carriageway road, bypassing the roundabout at the M40 junction. (Part of the Tollbar End improvements)
  • The Newark to Widmerpool Improvement will make this section grade-separated dual-carriageway, closing the gap in the corridor. In December 2008, it was announced that this scheme would be brought forward to commence in 2009 instead of the expected 2015/16. In June, 2009, reports indicate that work has started. Completion is scheduled for Summer 2012.


  • The A45/A46 Tollbar End improvement will create a grade separated junction here, as well as improvements to the Stonebridge Highway.


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