M40 30th Birthday

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M40 30th Birthday

Post by SteveA30 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 20:38

Reminded of this by this site
http://www.365daysofmotoring.com/showon ... xO5XV76szk

I went up for the opening. Stood on a bridge from the A41 - on its last day- to Fritwell. A fair crowd of locals were also present. As we were nearer the southern end, the n/bnd traffic arrived fairly quickly, with 3 Police cars in a row doing a steady 70. Much tooting, waving and headlight flashing. It must have been roughly an hour before the s/bnd flow reached us, by which time I was on my own. The lasting memory was of the peacefulness before, then a gentle rushing sound from the south that soon became a roar. giving rise to mixed feelings about the new road. That spot can't have had any silence since then. I'm not aware of any accident causing a total closure.

Many A roads were changed on that day. Heading home, I saw Highways altering signs near Oxford. A43, A41, A423, A34 all partly disappeared.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by lotrjw » Fri Jan 15, 2021 20:56

SteveA30 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 20:38
Reminded of this by this site
http://www.365daysofmotoring.com/showon ... xO5XV76szk

I went up for the opening. Stood on a bridge from the A41 - on its last day- to Fritwell. A fair crowd of locals were also present. As we were nearer the southern end, the n/bnd traffic arrived fairly quickly, with 3 Police cars in a row doing a steady 70. Much tooting, waving and headlight flashing. It must have been roughly an hour before the s/bnd flow reached us, by which time I was on my own. The lasting memory was of the peacefulness before, then a gentle rushing sound from the south that soon became a roar. giving rise to mixed feelings about the new road. That spot can't have had any silence since then. I'm not aware of any accident causing a total closure.

Many A roads were changed on that day. Heading home, I saw Highways altering signs near Oxford. A43, A41, A423, A34 all partly disappeared.
Is this for the extension? Or the original bit?

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by chaseracer » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:01

lotrjw wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 20:56
Is this for the extension? Or the original bit?
The former, from Wheatley (ish) to the M42.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by Big L » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:01

lotrjw wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 20:56

Is this for the extension? Or the original bit?
The linked article wrote:The final phase of the 89 mile long M40 motorway through Oxfordshire was opened by UK Transport Secretary Malcolm Rifkind...
Make poetry history.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by SteveA30 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:02

Extension from Oxford to M42. Well, A46 as the stretch to M42 had opened in Dec 89.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by KeithW » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:05

The section from J8 to J15 opened in Jan 1991, I drove up the A41 (now B4100)/A452 in Summer 1990 and it was moving towards completion at that time.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by RichardA35 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:12

KeithW wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:05
The section from J8 to J15 opened in Jan 1991, I drove up the A41 (now B4100)/A452 in Summer 1990 and it was moving towards completion at that time.
I drove the entire section from J8 to J15 in summer 1990 apart from crossing one underbridge 😊

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by JohnnyMo » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:14

Oh I should have know 30 years ago I used the M1 Jct 12 to Jct 14 daily, overnight (well within a week) there was a noticeable drop in traffic.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by B4444 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:56

I recall there was a TV documentary about its construction using time lapse photography. I've never found it on Youtube.
I remember there was farmer getting irate as the contractors hadn't provided him with temporary access across the works. Also problems with contamination of the river Cherwell. There were also stone piles used as road foundations across Otmoor.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by fras » Fri Jan 15, 2021 22:01

Yes, I suppose it is 30 years. Whow, how time flies !

We were living in Rugby from 1984-1995, and a couple of times visited Farnborough Hall, an NT property north of Banbury on the A423 The grounds of this hall developed in the mid 18th century are really something, and include a terraced walk giving views west over the vale across to Edge Hill. We visited before the M40 was built, but I can't remember if we went there after. We were NT members then so might have. The main intrusion will undoubtedly be the traffic noise, as the M40 is very close to the hall park; I would estimate about 3/4 mile away. I suppose this is the price of progress. If one looks at this section there are quite a number of villages close to the M40 with Warmington being the closest. If one looks at Banbury, it is now huge and I can't see how this town could support what it does without the M40.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by owen b » Fri Jan 15, 2021 22:12

KeithW wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 21:05
The section from J8 to J15 opened in Jan 1991, I drove up the A41 (now B4100)/A452 in Summer 1990 and it was moving towards completion at that time.
So did I, on the first leg of a post graduation road trip around Scotland starting in Oxford, or at least the section between Banbury and Warwick from where the M40 was already open.

Then in autumn 1990 and through 1991 I frequently took the National Express 747 from Luton to Oxford and back. As soon as the M40 extension opened, the A40 westbound Friday evening long queues up to the Headington roundabout more or less disappeared.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by SteveA30 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 22:13

I was one of those who bought a small parcel of land on Otmoor, to make things difficult for land purchase. Bit of a conflict of conscience between love of roads and the environment. I don't recall paying anything, receiving anything or, anyone asking how much I wanted for my 'land' so, I guess it was a gimmick. However, the M40 does skirt around Otmoor so, something must have happened to bring about a re-routing.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by B4444 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 07:49


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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by Bryn666 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:38

The M40 really was long overdue and, compared to other motorways, it still feels new despite the wear and tear of 30 years.

Doesn't change the fact it's utterly tedious mile after mile of nothingness though until you get well past Oxford.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by ForestChav » Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:56

Bryn666 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:38
The M40 really was long overdue and, compared to other motorways, it still feels new despite the wear and tear of 30 years.

Doesn't change the fact it's utterly tedious mile after mile of nothingness though until you get well past Oxford.
It, and the M20, have to be the dullest motorways we have really. And the M11 between Cambridge and Stansted especially if you're going southbound.

The M40 is still easily the best way into London though apart from the East end. Unlike the M1, which dumps you onto a combination of the A1, A41 and A5, the A40 takes you straight into the middle on a dual carriageway, all the others are tedious.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by Glenn A » Sat Jan 16, 2021 14:43

I used to own one of those HMSO yearbooks called Britain 1976 and it had an outline of a motorway from Oxford to Birmingham called the M43 as a broken line( under consideration). It shows even then, traffic volumes on the A34 were becoming heavy, and I do recall the family driving on the A34 in 1982 and the road being very busy. Yet it took until 1991 for the motorway to be completed as the M25 and M42 around Birmingham were seen as bigger priorities.
As a motorway, the M40 is a far nicer drive from Birmingham to London than the M6/M1 route and more scenic.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by trickstat » Sat Jan 16, 2021 14:58

ForestChav wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:56
Bryn666 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:38
The M40 really was long overdue and, compared to other motorways, it still feels new despite the wear and tear of 30 years.

Doesn't change the fact it's utterly tedious mile after mile of nothingness though until you get well past Oxford.
It, and the M20, have to be the dullest motorways we have really. And the M11 between Cambridge and Stansted especially if you're going southbound.

The M40 is still easily the best way into London though apart from the East end. Unlike the M1, which dumps you onto a combination of the A1, A41 and A5, the A40 takes you straight into the middle on a dual carriageway, all the others are tedious.
The M40 between Oxford and London is quite an interesting drive. I have only driven the Oxford to Birmingham part once and it seems fast but very dull. At least there is some undulation on the M11 between Stansted and Cambridge. Living where I do, I've only driven that 3 times myself. I don't find the M20 too bad although I've not gone further than Ashford.

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by Piatkow » Sat Jan 16, 2021 15:17

ForestChav wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:56
Bryn666 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 13:38
The M40 really was long overdue and, compared to other motorways, it still feels new despite the wear and tear of 30 years.

Doesn't change the fact it's utterly tedious mile after mile of nothingness though until you get well past Oxford.
It, and the M20, have to be the dullest motorways we have really. And the M11 between Cambridge and Stansted especially if you're going southbound.

The M40 is still easily the best way into London though apart from the East end. Unlike the M1, which dumps you onto a combination of the A1, A41 and A5, the A40 takes you straight into the middle on a dual carriageway, all the others are tedious.
I find M1 / A41 an easier route if driving into London in the evening peak but it does depend on exactly where in the central area you are heading for.

One thing that I discovered driving to Camden Town from Oxford was that if you get into lane 2 on joining the motorway then you are in the correct lane to turn into Albany Street from Euston Road without further lane changes. Assuming that is that traffic at Hanger Lane isn't tailing back onto the main line. (Only recommended at busy times)

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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by vlad » Sat Jan 16, 2021 20:18

fras wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 22:01
We were living in Rugby from 1984-1995, and a couple of times visited Farnborough Hall, an NT property north of Banbury on the A423 The grounds of this hall developed in the mid 18th century are really something, and include a terraced walk giving views west over the vale across to Edge Hill. We visited before the M40 was built, but I can't remember if we went there after. We were NT members then so might have. The main intrusion will undoubtedly be the traffic noise, as the M40 is very close to the hall park; I would estimate about 3/4 mile away. I suppose this is the price of progress.
Planting large numbers of trees has helped reduce the noise, although of course the motorway is still audible.
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Re: M40 30th Birthday

Post by Worcestershire Wolf » Sat Jan 16, 2021 21:11

fras wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 22:01
Yes, I suppose it is 30 years. Whow, how time flies !

We were living in Rugby from 1984-1995, and a couple of times visited Farnborough Hall, an NT property north of Banbury on the A423 The grounds of this hall developed in the mid 18th century are really something, and include a terraced walk giving views west over the vale across to Edge Hill. We visited before the M40 was built, but I can't remember if we went there after. We were NT members then so might have. The main intrusion will undoubtedly be the traffic noise, as the M40 is very close to the hall park; I would estimate about 3/4 mile away. I suppose this is the price of progress. If one looks at this section there are quite a number of villages close to the M40 with Warmington being the closest. If one looks at Banbury, it is now huge and I can't see how this town could support what it does without the M40.
Although of course as well as the noise level losers there were winners too. At the time I was living in a village just of the then A41, and you could hear the traffic in the Summer when you had your windows open or were in the garden, not helped by the fact the A41 ran on a ridgeway. Then of course in 1991 the noise disappeared when the traffic was transferred to the M40 and the A41 became the B4100.

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