A3055 road

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A3055 road shield

A3055 road
Major junctions
North end: Ryde
  A3054 A3054 road
A3020 A3020 road
A3056 A3056 road
A3054 A3054 road
South end: Totland
Road network
Military Road at Brook. This is the end of the clearway section, as denoted by the signs near the junction. Note also that the destination on the sign is Ventnor: despite the fact the road goes to Ryde, motorists travelling there would have a shorter journey via Brook Village and Newport.

The A3055 is an A-Class Road on the Isle of Wight in Southern England. It forms the Southern portion of the circular around-the-Island A-class loop, the northern section being the A3054. The stretch along the south-west coast of the Island is formed by the Military Road.

Because of the road's relatively short length, there are no confirmatory signs with distances, although on a few direction signs at junctions you may find the distance to the next major place. The final destination of the road (Freshwater/Totland or Ryde), in common with most UK roads, is not signed along the whole length of the route. As well as fitting with national practice, this is also because anybody wishing to travel from Totland to Ryde by road would do so via the North coast A3054, as it is much more direct.

Military Road near Compton Farm (ahead). Automatically in the event of a landslide, or manually in very poor weather, the sign (to the right here) can be illuminated to close the road at this vulnerable point.

Military Road[edit]

The Military Road is the section of the A3055 regional coast road on the Isle of Wight which starts at Chale in the East and ends at Freshwater Bay in the West. The road has had to be in part relocated and repaired due to coastal erosion at various times since it was built in the late nineteenth century, and this continues today.[1][2][3]

The original Military Road was constructed as part of a defence network in about 1860 and remained as a private gated road for about 70 years. It served as a link between forts and barracks and fluctuated between private and military use with private rights vested in the Seely family. In 1930 or thereabouts, the landowner Sir Charles Seely donated what was then a narrow track to the Isle of Wight Council for public use. The original track was vulnerable to erosion and a new road was constructed further inland. Some vestiges of the original track are still visible along the coast from Shippards Chine to the north west of the slumped area. The construction of the new road took place in the early 1930 with the formal opening of the last section in March 1936.[4]

The road from Chale to Niton was built as a diversionary inland route following the collapse of the previous coastal road between Niton and Blackgang in 1928. It is of similar construction and mostly from the same time period to the stretch to the west of Chale which was re-built and upgraded at this time. This length of road is not usually understood to be covered by the term 'Military Road' and its name on street maps and signs is different.

The section from Brook to Freshwater Bay is a clearway, so stopping on this section is only permitted at the five car parking areas, of which one is free, and the rest are operated with a charge to those who are not members of the National Trust. Along the rest of the route, there is no such restriction, but most motorists choose only to stop in designated car parks.

In Summer 2009 the Isle of Wight Council was warned that cliff slippage was endangering the road, and as of January 2010, portions of the cliff were only 10 metres (33 ft) from the road.[5] The harsh weather over winter 2009-10 caused a large number of landslides. By February 2010, another land slip on the section between Brook and Hanover car park, brought the top of the cliff to about 5 metres from the edge of the road. The coastal path was lost, and the council erected traffic barriers at one side of the road to alert drivers.[6]

A further landslide, on the same section, on 23 February 2010, brought the top of the cliff to virtually the edge of the road. The road was reduced to single file, with traffic light control.[7] Since then various meetings of the Isle of Wight Council have included discussion of the road's future. One view has been that the road is unrepairable, and should be closed, while parking and turning areas should be created at both ends.[8] More recently the possibility has been discussed of diverting the road and rebuilding as part of the county's refurbishment of all its roads under a Private finance initiative. The section of destroyed road was repaired, and a diversion has yet to be implemented.

Undercliff Drive[edit]

Undercliff Drive is the segment of the A3055 that runs the length of the Isle of Wight Undercliff between Niton and Ventnor.

Leeson Road[edit]

Leeson Road, named after the 19th century Bonchurch resident Henry Beaumont Leeson, is the segment of the A3055 that runs from Ventnor, at the foot of St Boniface Down, along the clifftop above Bonchurch, the Bonchurch Landslips and the Devil's Chimney.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°35′51″N 1°16′14″W / 50.59762°N 1.27047°W / 50.59762; -1.27047