A720

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Route of the A720

There is something beautifully, almost poetically, simple about Edinburgh's road network. If only more big cities could be this straightforward. There are roads going in and out, you see, and a big tangle of streets in the middle. And to avoid it all, if you want nothing to do with Edinburgh itself, is a fast dual carriageway along the urban fringe called the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass. Simplicity itself.

Of course, life is seldom quite so free of complications, at least where the UK's road system is concerned. The A720 was built relatively quickly in a series of stages in the 1980s, and the fact that it was planned and designed more or less as a single entity ought to mean that it works well.

Sadly, that's not the case. There are actually quite a few little puzzles on the A720, like why there are two west-facing junctions serving Gilmerton and Bonnyrigg, but no east-facing equivalents at all, or why you can get to Wester Hailes from the east very easily but not from the west. Or indeed the biggest conundrum, which is why a road clearly designed to link all of Edinburgh's radial routes, from the A1 in the east to the M8 and A8 in the west, stops at that point and doesn't continue the relatively short distance to the A90.

There is also the headache that is Sheriffhall Roundabout. The A720 should, in theory, be free-flowing from end to end, but it's not, because where it crosses the A7 a flat roundabout (now festooned with traffic lights) was installed and remains there to this day, causing an unwanted break in the journey when traffic is light and lengthy hold-ups when it's not. (Sheriffhall is explored in considerable detail in Bad Junctions.)

Despite all of that, we should be counting our blessings, because at least it exists and at least it mostly does its job, and it's still far better than the ring roads and bypasses provided for many other cities of Edinburgh's size. Though if you're sitting in a mile-long traffic jam at Sheriffhall, it might not always seem that way.

Factfile

Start Gogar (A8)
Finish Craighall (A1)
Passes Edinburgh
Length 13 miles
Connects to M8, A1

Road Schemes

CBRD's Road Schemes section has information on these schemes that are active or in planning on the A720.

There are no photos in this section yet.

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the A720 were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
1981 Baberton → Lothianburn
1985 Dreghorn Interchange
1986 Gogarburn → Baberton
1988 Lothianburn → Straiton
1988 Sheriffhall → Old Craighall
1989 Straiton → Sheriffhall

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Westbound               Eastbound
Glasgow
Livingston (M8 Link)
Forth Road Bridge (A90)
Stirling (M9 Link)
A8
Tram Depot
City Centre
A8
Edinburgh Park
Gogarloch Park
South Gyle Ind. Est.












A8
(M8)
(M9)
(A90)
WEST
Gogar Interchange (Roundabout Interchange)













A8
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns
1 mile, 2 lanes Up   Down 1 mile, 2 lanes
(M8 J1) City Centre
Kilmarnock
A71
Glasgow
Forth Road Bridge
Stirling
Livingston
M8 Link
M8



A71
Hermiston Gait Interchange (Non-standard interchange)



A71
Glasgow
M8 Link
City Centre
Kilmarnock
A71
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
LanesLanesLanesLanes
LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.25 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 0.25 miles, 2 lanes
More information about this junction
Signs Signs
1 mile, 2 lanes Up  
City Centre
Lanark
B701 (A70)
Baberton Junction (Non-standard interchange) B701


B701
(A70)
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes
2.5 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 3.5 miles, 2 lanes
Colinton
Oxgangs
(B701)
Dreghorn Interchange (Diamond) (B701) Colinton
Oxgangs
(B701)
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.25 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 1.25 miles, 2 lanes
Carlisle (A74(M) Link)
City Centre
A702
A702
(A74(M))
Lothianburn Junction (Dumbbell) A702 Carlisle (A74(M) Link)
City Centre
A702
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.75 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 1.75 miles, 2 lanes
City Centre
Peebles (A703)
A701
A701

B702
Straiton Junction (Non-standard interchange) A701


City Centre
Peebles (A703)
A701
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3.25 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 0.75 miles, 2 lanes
Lasswade Junction (Diamond) Edinburgh (S)
Lasswade
Bonnyrigg
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  Down 1.5 miles, 2 lanes


A772
Gilmerton Junction (Dumbbell) A772 City Centre
Galashiels (A7)
A772
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  Down 1 mile, 2 lanes
Dalkeith
A6106
Galashiels
Hawick
Carlisle A7
Edinburgh A7
Old Craighall
A6106
A7

A6106
Sheriffhall Roundabout (Roundabout) A7

A6106
Edinburgh A7
Old Craighall
A6106
Dalkeith
A6106
Galashiels
Hawick
Carlisle A7
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns
1.5 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 1.5 miles, 2 lanes
Jedburgh
A68
A68 Millerhill Junction (Dumbbell) Jedburgh
A68
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes Up   Down 1 mile, 2 lanes
A1






Craighall Interchange (Roundabout Interchange)
(B6415)
EAST
A1






Edinburgh A1
Musselburgh
(B6415)
Services Services
Berwick upon Tweed
A1
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes