The United Kingdom, with its historic landmarks and picturesque landscapes, is also home to a unique motoring landscape. Amid the vast network of motorways, some stand out for their idiosyncrasies. These quirky motorways, ranging from extremely short routes to motorways with a single junction, add a distinct flavour to the UK’s transportation system. Let’s take a journey along some of these unique motorways.
First on our list is the A601(M), a motorway with a compelling story. It’s the result of an intended bypass that never saw completion, leaving a motorway that ends abruptly and restarts, with a simple roundabout joining the two sections. The A601(M) also boasts a pedestrian crossing, a feature virtually unheard of on a motorway.
Next up is the M8, Scotland’s busiest motorway, with an unusually wide range of exits, numbered from 1 to 31. It’s here that we encounter a motorway oddity, with Junction 2 missing entirely from the sequence. The junction was planned but never built, leaving a gap in the sequence and a unique quirk in the UK’s motorway network.
Delving further into our motorway anomalies, we find the A308(M), a remarkably short motorway in Berkshire. It spans a mere 0.6 miles, making it one of the shortest motorways in the UK. Despite its short length, it is a vital link between the M4 and Maidenhead, proving that size isn’t everything when it comes to significance.
Then there’s the M96, a motorway few drivers will ever encounter. This is because it’s located within the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire and is used for training emergency services. Its unique status as a private motorway, complete with a variety of potential hazards for training purposes, makes it a standout feature in the UK’s motorway system.
In a similar vein, we find the M45, a motorway that feels like a journey back in time. It has a single junction and a single carriageway. Once a crucial link between the M1 and Coventry, the creation of the M6 rendered it largely redundant. Now, the M45 stands as a relic of motorway history, an almost deserted stretch of road harking back to the early days of motorway construction.
Finally, we visit the M271 in Southampton, a motorway that does not comply with the standard orientation of UK motorways. Instead of running between the North and the South, it runs from the North-West to the South-East, a direction quite opposite to the norm.
These quirky motorways, with their singular junctions, abrupt ends, and unique features, offer a fascinating insight into the UK’s rich motoring history. They are testament to the evolution of transport infrastructure, shaped by the changing needs and circumstances of the time. While they may not be the fastest or the busiest routes, these unusual motorways certainly make for an interesting journey, adding a touch of character to the UK’s transport network.
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