M5 motorway explained

The M5 is a motorway in England. It runs from a junction with the M6 at West Bromwich near Birmingham to Exeter in Devon. Heading south-west, the M5 runs east of West Bromwich and west of Birmingham through Sandwell Valley. The road continues past Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Burnham-on-Sea, Bridgwater and Taunton on its way to Exeter, ending at Junction 31. It is the primary gateway to south-west England. Congestion is common during the summer, on Friday afternoons, and school and bank holidays on the section south of the M4.

Route

The M5 follows the route of the A38 road quite closely. The two deviate slightly around Bristol and the area south of Bristol (junctions 16 to 22). The A38 goes straight through the centre of Bristol and passes by Bristol Airport; whereas the M5 skirts around both of them, with access to the airport from junctions 18, 19 or 22. The A38 continues south from where the M5 finishes in Devon.

Between junction 21, Weston-super-Mare and Junction 22, Burnham-on-Sea, the M5 passes by an isolated landmark hill called Brent Knoll. The Willow Man sculpture is visible from both carriageways, and acts as a landmark just to the south of Junction 23.

The Almondsbury Interchange, between the M5 and the M4 near Bristol is a four level interchange. The Avonmouth Bridge is often a bottleneck in heavy traffic.[1] There are split-level carriageways where the motorway climbs the sides of the hills above the Gordano Valley, between Portishead and Clevedon. Junction 1 surrounds a surviving gatehouse from the former Sandwell Hall.

History

Construction

The first 26miles of the M5 motorway to be built was constructed as a dual two-lane motorway (two lanes in each direction), with Worcestershire County Council acting as engineer.[2] This section, from Junction 4 (Lydiate Ash) in the north to a trumpet junction with the M50 in the south, opened in July 1962.[2] [3] The southern end was called a trumpet junction because of its shape: a 270 degree curved bend. There were no other exits from this trumpet junction though room was left for an extension to the south.

The 2miles dual two-lane section between junctions 16 and 17 was built at Filton, near Bristol opened in 1962, with Gloucestershire County Council acting as engineer which was intended to replace the pre-war Filton bypass.[2] [3] [4] This section was widened to a dual three-lane motorway in 1969.[3]

The section north of Junction 4 was constructed in sections, from 1967 to 1970 together with the Frankley services. Much of the northern section beyond Junction 3, from about Quinton to its junction with the M6 motorway was constructed as an elevated dual 3-lane motorway using concrete pillars.[3]

The M5 was also extended southwards, in sections, from 1967 to 1977, through Somerset, to Exeter, as a dual three-lane motorway[3] together with the Strensham services.

The short section between junctions 27 and 29 was built in 1967/69, by Devon County Council, as the A38 Cullompton Bypass, with the intention that it should become part of the M5.[2] The termini for this section have since been removed, although part of the southern terminal roundabout is now used as an emergency access.[5] It was developed to motorway standards, and incorporated into the M5 in 1975.[2]

Operational history

The section from Junctions 16 and 18 was illuminated in about 1973 as part or a wider policy announced by UK Minister for Transport Industries in 1972 to illuminate the 86 miles (138 km) of UK motorway particularly prone to fog.[6]

In the late 1980s junction 4a was built as part of the M42 motorway construction project. The route of the M42 was decided as early as 1972 but, due to planning delays, the short section of the M42 north of Bromsgrove did not open until 1989.[7]

The first-built section of M5, from junctions 3 to 8, was widened to provide six lanes (three lanes in each direction) in the early 1990s. During this work the northbound Strensham Services was rebuilt further away from the new junction. Junctions 7 and 8 were also remodelled into a roundabout junction.[8]

The Avonmouth Bridge was converted to eight lanes (four lanes in each direction) in the early 2000s. Later, in 2005 - 2006, parts of the M5 between Junctions 17 and 20 were widened to 7 lanes (four lanes climbing the hills and three lanes descending the hills); variable message signs were added and parts of the central reservation was converted to a concrete step barrier. During this stage of construction the M5 became Britain's longest contraflow system,[9] [10] spanning 9miles between junctions 19 and 20. The M5 contraflow was said to be the most complicated ever built in the UK as the motorway is on a split level around the steep hills of the Gordano Valley; meaning four lanes plus an additional emergency vehicle lane were squeezed into that section.[11] Most of the contraflow had speed limits of 40mph and required six speed cameras to enforce the speed limit through the narrow lanes.[12]

In 2002 extended exits for Junction 12 were constructed. The Highways Agency did not anticipate the traffic flows through the junction and the resultant queues can now extend back onto the motorway.[13] This is because of an increase in traffic from Stroud intending to use the M5 northbound. The distance from junctions 12 and 13 is similar and traffic congestion is heavy on the A419 towards junction 13 whereas it is usually lighter on the B4008 towards junction 12. As traffic leaving the M5 northbound towards Gloucester needs to give way to this traffic coming from the B4008, the queue on the motorway can extend beyond the first sign for the junction. More improvements are scheduled, as at 2010.

At junction 28 the Cullompton services are only signed on the motorway in the northbound direction, and are not signed in the southbound direction, this was implemented to reduce congestion at the low capacity junction, and there is still access available to the services southbound through the junction respectively. Also the northbound exit slip to the junction was reduced to one lane instead of two to reduce traffic on the small roundabout at the west side of the junction.

In 2009 it was announced that the lighting between junctions 30 and 31 had been turned off between midnight and 5am to save energy.[14]

Proposed development

Gloucestershire Gateway Services

See main article: Gloucestershire Gateway services. Proposals were announced in September 2009 for a new Gloucestershire Gateway Services between junctions 11a and 12.[15] A planning application was submitted in December 2009.[16] Stroud District councillors approved the services in August 2010.[17]

Notable events

2011 multi-vehicle collision

See main article: 2011 M5 motorway crash. On the evening of Friday 4 November 2011, seven people were killed and a further 51 injured in a major crash involving 36 vehicles (including cars, vans, and large goods vehicles), which took place close to junction 25 in West Monkton, near Taunton.[18] Some vehicles were burnt out in the fire which developed at the scene.[19] The cause of the crash, which took place in wet foggy conditions close to a firework display, is being investigated.[20]

Junctions

Data[21] [22] [23] from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information. Where both the start and end point of the junction are known, both have been included.

M5 motorway junctions
kmNorthbound exits (B Carriageway)JunctionSouthbound exits (A Carriageway)Coordinates
0.0The North West, Wolverhampton, Birmingham (North & East), Walsall M6M6, J8
Start of motorway
4.3
5.3
West Bromwich, Birmingham (North West) A41J1West Bromwich, Birmingham (North West) A41
8.4
9.3
Dudley, Wolverhampton,
Birmingham (West) A4123
J2Dudley, Wolverhampton, Birmingham (West) A4123
13.8
14.5
Birmingham (South West & Central) A456J3Kidderminster A456
Frankley ServicesServicesFrankley Services
22.5
23.2
Birmingham (South) A38
Stourbridge A491
J4Bromsgrove A38
Stourbridge A491
25.9
26.7
NEC, Airport, M42, London (M40), The North East (M1)J4A
Birmingham (South & East), Redditch M42, London (M40)
34.5
35.0
Droitwich, Bromsgrove A38J5Droitwich A38
43.5
44.2
Worcester (North), Kidderminster A449J6Worcester (North) A449, Evesham A4538
48.6
49.4
Worcester (South), Evesham A44J7Worcester (South) A44
Strensham servicesServicesStrensham services
63.9
64.4
South Wales, Ross-on-Wye M50J8South Wales, Ross-on-Wye M50
69.8
70.6
Tewkesbury A438 Evesham A46J9Tewkesbury A438 Evesham A46
77.7
78.0
No accessJ10Cheltenham A4019
82.1
82.8
Cheltenham, Gloucester A40J11Cheltenham, Gloucester, Staverton Airport A40
85.9
86.9
Gloucester, Cirencester A417J11ALondon, Cirencester A417
Gloucestershire Gateway Services
(Construction starts late 2011, opening in 2013)
ServicesGloucestershire Gateway Services
(Construction starts late 2011, opening in 2013)
96.9
97.4
Gloucester (A38)J12Gloucester (A38)
101.8
102.5
Stroud A419J13Stroud, Dursley A419
115.7Michaelwood servicesServicesMichaelwood services
118.4
119.0
Dursley B4509J14Thornbury B4509
130.5
131.5
South Wales, London M4J15
Almondsbury Interchange
London, South Wales M4 (M48), Bristol (M32)
132.0
132.5
Thornbury, Filton A38J16Thornbury, Filton A38
135.5
136.2
Bristol (West), Cribbs Causeway A4018 B4055J17Bristol (West), Cribbs Causeway A4018
140.6
141.2
South Wales, Cardiff, Newport M49 (M4(W))J18A No access
141.6
142.0
Bristol A4
Avonmouth, Docks (A403)
J18Avonmouth, Bristol (West), Airport A4
Avonmouth BridgeBridgeAvonmouth Bridge
145.0Portishead, Royal Portbury Dock, Clifton (Toll) A369
Gordano Services
J19
Services
Portishead, Royal Portbury Dock A369
Gordano services
155.6Nailsea, Clevedon B3133J20Clevedon, Nailsea B3133
164.6Weston-super-Mare, Bristol (South) A370J21Weston-super-Mare A370
175.6Sedgemoor servicesServicesSedgemoor services
179.8Burnham-on-Sea, Bristol (South), Airport A38
Weston-S-Mare (A370)
J22Highbridge, Burnham-on-Sea A38
188.1Highbridge A38
Glastonbury, Wells A39
J23Glastonbury, Wells A39
Bridgwater A38
196.0
196.3
Bridgwater, Minehead A38
Bridgwater services
J24
Services
Minehead, A38 (A39)
Bridgwater services
206.7
206.9
Taunton, Yeovil A358J25Honiton, Yeovil, Weymouth A358, Taunton (A38)
214.5Taunton Deane servicesServicesTaunton Deane services
217.8
218.0
Wellington, Taunton A38J26Wellington A38
230.7
231.3
Barnstaple, Tiverton A361, Wellington A38J27Barnstaple, Tiverton A361, Willand (B3181)
237.5
238.0
Cullompton B3181
Cullompton services
J28
Services
Cullompton B3181, Honiton A373
253.8
254.4
Honiton A30
Exeter International Airport
J29Honiton A30 (East)
Exeter International Airport
255.7
256.3
Exeter A379, Exmouth A376
Sidmouth (A3052), Exeter services
J30
Services
Exeter, Dawlish A379
Sidmouth, Exmouth A376
Exeter services
261.4
261.7
Start of motorwayrowspan=2J31Bodmin, Okehampton A30
261.8Bodmin, Okehampton A30
Non-motorway traffic
Road becomes A38 to Plymouth and Torquay (A380)

See also

References

Sources

  • Charlesworth, George (1984). A History of British Motorways. London: Thomas Telford Ltd. ISBN 0-7277-0159-2.

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Out and About In Bristol. Tour UK. 15 November 2011.
  2. Charlesworth, George (1984), pp.135-140.
  3. Charlesworth, George (1984), Table 7.3 - pp.100-123.
  4. Ordnance Survey One Inch Map of Great Britain, Series 7 Sheet 156, major roads revised 1963.
  5. Web site: SABRE Photo Gallery.
  6. Peter Garnier (Ed). News: Motorway lighting. Autocar. 137 nbr 3978. page 19. 13 July 1972.
  7. Web site: The Motorway Archive - M42. Iht.org. 31 December 2011.
  8. Web site: The Motorway Archive - M5 Widening, junctions 3 to 8. Iht.org. 31 December 2011.
  9. http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-13457491,00.html Sky News - UK's Longest Contraflow
  10. Web site: 'Most complex' contraflow. BBC News. 29 October 2005. 31 December 2011.
  11. http://www.epolitix.com/EN/MPWebsites/John+Penrose/810171f6-311a-49a9-a3a1-bd68fbc16839.htm#13 Western Daily Press - West beware! It's Britain's biggest road contraflow
  12. Web site: RedSpeed International Take On Europe's Largest Contraflow. Road Traffic Technology. 31 December 2011.
  13. News: Agency admits error over junction. BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 18 November 2005. 1 January 2008.
  14. News: Night switch-off for M5 lighting. BBC News. 12 March 2009. 10 August 2010.
  15. Web site: Eco-services plan for M5. This is Gloucestershire. 17 September 2009. 15 January 2010.
  16. Web site: Planning background. Gloucestershiregatewayservies. 11 November 2010.
  17. Web site: Plans for Gloucestershire M5 service station approved. BBC News Gloucestershire. 10 August 2010. 10 August 2010.
  18. Web site: Seven confirmed dead in M5 accident in Somerset. BBC News. 5 November 2011. 6 November 2011.
  19. News: O'Carroll. Lisa. M5 Crash: Latest Updates: Live. 5 November 2011. The Guardian. 5 November 2011.
  20. News: Police investigate smoke as possible cause of M5 pile-up in which seven died. Western Morning News. Jon. Bayley. 7 November 2011. 7 November 2011.
  21. Web site: Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map. Locations extracted from Traffic Camera Popup (J1 to J10). Highways Agency. 4 November 2009.
  22. J11-J18: Driver Location Signs, M5 J18-11, M4 J22-15 (map) Highway Authority 2009
  23. J19-J30: Driver Location Signs, M5 J19-30 (map) - Highway Authority, 2009