Longforgan, A90, nr Dundee

OS 1937-61
Modern Map
Date opened/built:



1.8 miles (3kms).


6ft (1.83m).

Adjoining footway:

Period, yes; today, no — shared use path.

Road type:

Rural dual carriageway.


Modern asphalt.

Both sides of road:

Not visible on both sides of road.

Adjacent to social housing:


Period mapping:

OS 10,000 surveyed/revised pre-1930 to 1958, published 1959. https://maps.nls.uk/view/188141151 Shows sterilisation of road. OS 1:2,500 Revised 1968, published 1970 https://maps.nls.uk/view/130193413 Shows cycle tracks, with “cycle tracks” labelled. OS 1:2,500 surveyed/revised 1966 to 1968, published 1969 https://maps.nls.uk/view/130193596 Shows cycle tracks beyond roundabout, labelled “cycle tracks” OS 1:2,500 revised 1966, published 1967 https://maps.nls.uk/view/130193083 Track or footway featured but not labelled “cycle track”

OpenCycleMap status:

https://www.opencyclemap.org/?zoom=15&lat=56.45982&lon=-3.08513&layers=B0000 Shows cycleway on both sides of road for short section, and one side of the road for longer section.


Period maps, period newspapers.


OS aerial photo, 1948: https://maps.nls.uk/view/75220122 Cycle tracks can be seen, but only faintly.

OS period map of the A85 at Longforgan showing cycle tracks.

The bypass of Longforgan was largely built by 1939, complete with cycle tracks and footways, but finishing work appears to have stopped at the outbreak of war, with the road not completed until 1946 or 1947. Newspaper reports say there were cycle tracks and footways on both sides of the bypass, but there’s only one shared use path in evidence today.

(This path ends, oddly, at a large road sign with no surfaced forward progress for either cyclists or pedestrians.)

News of the bypass was first revealed in 1938.

“The Minister of Transport has asked Perth and Kinross County Council to put in hand immediately the scheme for the widening and modernisation of the Perth-Aberdeen-Inverness trunk road (A85) between Longforgan and Invergowrie for a length of about one mile and three-quarters,” stated a news report in The Scotsman in December 1938.

“The existing road has a single carriageway 21 feet wide and there are also a few lengths of narrow footpath,” continued the report, adding that the “number of vehicles using the road approximates to 3000 daily. The road is also used by many pedal cyclists.”

“At a cost of about £50,000, it is proposed to widen the road to 100 feet; and to provide dual carriageways, cycle tracks and footpaths,” said the report.

“The carriageways will be 22 feet wide and the cycle tracks 6 feet.”

The start of the Longforgan bypass is now a layby.

Six months later the Dundee Courier reported that the “laying of the dual carriageway is going ahead. One carriageway is complete, and in use, and the cycle track and footpath of generous width are coming into being.”

At the end of 1939 the Perthshire Advertiser reported that the “dual carriageway had already been constructed” but that the budget for the scheme had been halved through the “elimination of the cycle tracks, footpaths and the round-about at the junction.”

The roundabout — https://goo.gl/maps/v1Da1xL7UEXDK1Mf9 — is period with a modern lay-by being the original route of the road, complete with cycle track.

The start of WWII caused the bypass — with its partially completed cycle tracks and footways — to be mothballed, it can be inferred from a letter to a newspaper in 1946.

“Were ever rates more uselessly expended than in remaking cycle tracks skirting the highways between Bullionfield and Longforgan?” griped ‘Villager’ to the Dundee Courier.

“Twenty men have been employed for months on these tracks, laying foundations of tarmac and finishing them with asphalt,” the complainant revealed, adding that “cyclists never used these tracks — there are three of them — and never will.”

“Better get on with the bypass road skirting Longforgan,” argued ‘Villager’ stating that “heavy traffic passing through the village” was a “real menace.”

Notwithstanding this complaint the cycle tracks and footways were completed each side of the bypass, reveals a 1950 newspaper report.

The road had “two cycle tracks, two footpaths, and two verges,” reported the Dundee Evening Telegraph.


“The Minister of Transport has ... The Scotsman, 22 December 1938.

Six months later the ... Dundee Courier, 21 June 1939.

At the end of 1939 ... “HUGE CUTS EFFECTED BY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT. A saving of nearly £40,000 on two Perthshire road schemes which, combined, were originally estimated to cost over £100,000 was reported at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Joint County Council on Monday. Modification of the plans by the Ministry of Transport has resulted in a cut of £12,045 in the first estimate of £60,795 for the Dunblane Bridge and diversion scheme, while of even greater significance is that the expenditure of £48,559 placed on the reconstruction of a section of the Perth-Dundee road has been reduced by more than half. This scheme, which involved a twin highway with cycle tracks and footpaths between the junction of Kingsway, Dundee, and the east end of Longforgan village a stretch of one and a half miles —is now going to cost £24,223, which represents a saving of no less than £24,346 on the original figure. Mr William Henderson of Lawton, convener, declared that this enormous reduction served to justify the action of the County Council in urging all along that too much expense was being incurred on this scheme. It was far too gigantic, he said, for traffic needs of the Perth-Dundee road. The Ministry had now modified the cost to such an extent as to confirm the Council’s view that such expenditure was uncalled for. Lord Kinnaird of Rossie Priory said it was an interesting point that the whole of the saving of £24,000 had been effected by the elimination of the cycle tracks, footpaths and the round-about at the junction. The dual carriageway had already been constructed.” Perthshire Advertiser, 13 December 1939.

“Were ever rates more ... Dundee Courier, 13 September 1946. “Twenty men have been ... Three tracks or three cyclists?

The road had “two cycle ... Dundee Evening Telegraph, 16 October 1950.

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