Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The A38 is a major trunk road in England. It runs from Bodmin in Cornwall to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. At 292 miles (470 km) long it is the second longest 'A' road in the United Kingdom, second only to the A1.
Starting from Bodmin, the road runs past Liskeard and Saltash, into Devon at the Tamar Bridge, through Plymouth and Buckfastleigh to Exeter. The section from Plymouth to Exeter is called the "Devon Expressway", and serves as a southward extension of the M5 motorway.
The road reemerges from its junction with the M5 ten miles north of Exeter, and heads north via Wellington, Taunton, Bridgwater, Bristol, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Worcester, Bromsgrove and Birmingham. From Exeter to Birmingham, the road is paralleled by the M5, where the A38 has reverted to taking local traffic only. Between Worcester and Birmingham the A38 follows the course of a Roman road, although the construction of bypasses around some towns means the modern-day route deviates somewhat from the original dead-straight road.
The section in Birmingham called the Aston Expressway, from the city centre through Aston to the junction with the M6 motorway (at Spaghetti Junction), is a motorway and is designated the A38(M). It is a tidal flow road, in that more lanes are available travelling into the city during the morning rush hour, and more travelling out of the city during the evening rush hour. There is no central reservation; instead, one of the middle lanes is always kept empty by means of electronic overhead signs.
From Birmingham the road bypasses Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent and Derby before heading through Alfreton to end in Mansfield. The road follows the route of the Roman Icknield Street from Lichfield to Derby.
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