Edinburgh Bypass

(Edinburgh City Bypass, A720 Trunk Road)

The Edinburgh Bypass (A720), effectively forms the City Limit
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

The Edinburgh Bypass (A720), effectively forms the City Limit

The A720 Edinburgh Bypass is an important trunk road which connects Scotland's motorway network, to the west and north, with key roads radiating out from the capital to SW Scotland and NW England (A70, A71 and A702), and the Scottish Borders (A701, A703, A7 and A68), together with the A1 which is the principal route south to NE England. It also carries local traffic around the southern periphery of the city.

Extending to 13 miles (21 km) in length, the road is a dual-carriageway throughout and most of its junctions are graded with the exception of the Gogar roundabout which forms its northwestern termination and the six-way Sheriffhall roundabout, which is regularly congested. The road was built in sections between 1980 and 1989, with the first section between Baberton and Lothianburn opening in 1981 and the Gogarburn to Baberton section the following year. The eastern sections opened 1988-89. The most complex junction is at Hermiston Gait, which was reconfigured in 1995 to meet the new extension of the M8 motorway. Another new junction at Newton opened in 2008 as the northern end of the A68 Dalkeith Bypass. In 2013, the road was temporarily diverted to the east of Sheriffhall to allow the Borders Railway to be built beneath. The Scottish Government has committed to upgrading the roundabout at Sheriffhall to become a grade-separated junction.

Although a somewhat discontinuous band of greenspace was retained within the Bypass for many years, a lot of this has been lost, with plans existing for much of the rest. By 2020, the road effectively forms the city limit, although notable developments on the outside of the bypass have appeared at Baberton and Straiton.

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