If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

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gepree68
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If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by gepree68 » Sat Oct 23, 2021 20:27

2021-10-23 M5 M6 M42 M54.png
Let's say they built the Western Orbital and diverted M5 along the new route.

The existing M5 (from M5 J4A to M6 J8) would change to M4x (for example M43).

But would the whole of M54 also have to change number?

The start of M54 (at M6 J10A) would move from today's Zone 5 to Zone 4.

So would the whole of M54 have to change to M4x (for example M44)?
Last edited by gepree68 on Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Alderpoint » Sat Oct 23, 2021 20:38

No.
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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Peter350 » Sat Oct 23, 2021 20:43

It is debatable, but I’m sure Wolverhampton’s very own Steven will be more than happy to give a detailed explanation for us.
Last edited by Peter350 on Sat Oct 23, 2021 20:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Bryn666 » Sat Oct 23, 2021 20:45

In short no, because we don't rigidly apply rules like that, there's no benefit to renumbering the stump M54 in this scenario.
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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sun Oct 24, 2021 09:18

When they renamed the old Severn Bridge from M4 to M48, the zone boundary remained on its old path - or else the M48 is out of zone... incidentally, the M48 and M49 suggest that the zone 4/5 boundary is actually the Severn and not the M5 (akin to the Thames being the zone 1/2 boundary, and the Humber being the zone 1/6 boundary)

Likewise, the rerouting of the A1, A5 and A6 have not affected the zone boundaries of the A roads

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Steven » Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:17

Probably not.

This is for three reasons really:

* Relevant evidence from moving Mx motorways is very scarce, with (as has been mentioned) only the M4 move to the SSC being relevant; and the M48 runs along what was the zone boundary, implying that the boundary itself did not move.

* Relevant evidence from moving Ax routes for the all-purpose system is contradictory. There is plenty of evidence in both directions; for example the A3 Guildford Bypass did not move the zone boundary; whilst the A1 thrashing around in Tyneside did.

* More recent evidence has shown that no-one at the DfT even seems to understand that there are systems any more, given how terribly the all-purpose system has broken down; and the M49 being clearly out-of-zone - unless as I once tongue-in-cheek suggested that actually all the evidence in the National Archives about this is wrong, and the 4 zone is actually hourglass shaped...


However, the proposal would be a complete non-starter anyway.

With all of the hassle and additional costs that would be caused by moving the M5 to the Western Orbital (if it ever got built), with thousands of signs across the Black Country and Birmingham needing updating overnight, maps being wrong, businesses such as "Junction 1 Widgets" needing to change their name, etc etc etc.

As has been pointed out before when people keep trying to move the M6 number to the M6 Toll, it's a VERY different proposition to the M60 renumber especially as every sign across an area where over a million people live that mentioned the M5 would be actively incorrect.
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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Chris5156 » Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:13

Steven wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:17
* More recent evidence has shown that no-one at the DfT even seems to understand that there are systems any more, given how terribly the all-purpose system has broken down
Precisely this. The zone-based system for allocating motorway numbers has not been observed by anyone allocating a new motorway number for decades (not that many have been allocated at all). It is a historical curiosity of interest only to the likes of us, and I expect it would not be a consideration at all if there were changes to motorway numbers of the kind described in the OP. Whoever ended up responsible for renumbering the M54 (in the unbelievably unlikely event that such a thing was done) would choose whatever number they thought best and would likely do so without even knowing that a zonal system had ever existed.

Likewise if the M5 between Frankley and Ray Hall was bypassed and renumbered, I’d expect it to take a vacant 5x number because that would make it sound similar to the M5. I don’t believe any other consideration would even come into it.

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:40

Chris5156 wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:13
Likewise if the M5 between Frankley and Ray Hall was bypassed and renumbered, I’d expect it to take a vacant 5x number because that would make it sound similar to the M5. I don’t believe any other consideration would even come into it.
I'd leave the existing route as the M5, with the new route taking the M40 designation (the existing M42 J1-J3A should be M40 anyway :twisted: )

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:46

Steven wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:17
... and the M49 being clearly out-of-zone - unless as I once tongue-in-cheek suggested that actually all the evidence in the National Archives about this is wrong, and the 4 zone is actually hourglass shaped...
M49 is in zone if the boundary Zone 4/5 is the Severn, not the M5

I note that the map on PM shows the segment south of the M4 between M5 and M32 as being Zone 5 - surely that is Zone 3 (not that there's any likelihood of anything being built in in)

https://pathetic.org.uk/features/number ... tors.shtml

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by owen b » Sun Oct 24, 2021 14:05

Chris5156 wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:13
Steven wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 10:17
* More recent evidence has shown that no-one at the DfT even seems to understand that there are systems any more, given how terribly the all-purpose system has broken down
Precisely this. The zone-based system for allocating motorway numbers has not been observed by anyone allocating a new motorway number for decades (not that many have been allocated at all). It is a historical curiosity of interest only to the likes of us, and I expect it would not be a consideration at all if there were changes to motorway numbers of the kind described in the OP. Whoever ended up responsible for renumbering the M54 (in the unbelievably unlikely event that such a thing was done) would choose whatever number they thought best and would likely do so without even knowing that a zonal system had ever existed.
Shades of what Lord Palmerston is reputed to have said about the Schleswig-Holstein question :
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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by wrinkly » Sun Oct 24, 2021 15:23

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought of a line from For Whom the Bell Tolls:

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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Truvelo » Sun Oct 24, 2021 23:03

The most likely number would have been M5 Toll as the government was serious in building it as a toll road and it was in development around the same time as the BNRR. The provisional number would therefore have been A449(M) and it mirrors the A449 corridor in the same way as the BNRR was known as A446(M) as it followed that route.

The original 1970s proposal would almost certainly have been M40 as there's lot of evidence and some maps showing this. There's even one map showing the M40 continuing to Warrington as a relief road for the m6.
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Re: If they built Western Orbital as M5, would M54 have to change to M4x?

Post by Gareth Thomas » Sun Oct 31, 2021 11:48

I expect the whole thing would stay M54, because it would be more trouble than it is worth to change the number for a part of the route, and then maybe have to change the junction numbers, and signs.....

If the M5 were to migrate to a new route though then I could imagine the “old” M5 becoming an M4x to make it sound less important for long distance traffic. But they’d just leave the M54 as it is, even if it would now be technically out of zone.
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