Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

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Ross Spur
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Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Ross Spur » Sun Dec 20, 2020 09:35

Stormy Down, aside from being a great name, is east of Pyle and Port Talbot, Glamorgan. The Gazette notices are unclear as to whether this location, where the M4 crosses the A48, was a temporary terminus.

When the Pyle Bypass section was opened on 11 November 1977 the eastern point stated in The Gazette is 730 metres east of Portcawl Road, Pyle (i.e. J37). The connecting roads schedules mentioned the Margam junction and J37 but not any connection with A48 at Stormy Down.

When the Bridgend Bypass section opened on 18 September 1981 the western point was stated as about 400 metres north west of its junction with the road leading to Stormy West quarries.

Stormy Down was also the meeting point of the separate schemes. The Port Talbot Gazette stated that the motorway was from Margam to Stormy Down in the 1977 opening report and there were two separate contracts. The Bovis one ran from Margam to the Porthcawl Road and the R.M. Douglas one which included the junction (J37 assumed), nearly a mile of link roads and half a mile of motorway which would seem to be the section to Stormy Down, although I suppose it could have been constructed but not opened until the onward section was completed.

Picture 38 shows an empty J37 section prior to the westwards opening in 1981 at https://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle ... m4-8781406

Can any one help with information or OS maps between 1977 and 1981?

Thanks

Ian
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From the SABRE Wiki: M4 :


The M4 is the London to South Wales Motorway. Running for about 190 miles from Chiswick in the west of the capital to a point some 12 miles southeast of Carmarthen in west Wales, it passes such important centres of population and industry as Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Cardiff, and Swansea. The route forms the bulk of the E30's Fishguard to Felixstowe route in the UK.


The road into London is one of few examples of truly urban major motorways

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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by roadtester » Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:33

I don't know the answer to the question but thanks for the link to the M4 construction pics - really fascinating.
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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Steven » Sun Dec 20, 2020 13:19

Well...

Please forgive the "arty" nature of the images - they're quick phone camera shots rather than scans.

The first image is Routemaster Sheet 7 Revision A (published May 1978), and, ta-da! The motorway does indeed extend east of J37, but there's no junction marked. Also note the "A48(M)" label to the north...
2020-12-20 13.04.21.jpg
The next one (shockingly) is Revision B of the same sheet, published in Feb 1980. Now the section east of J37 is marked as "under construction" - but then so is a small section west of J37! Note that A48(M) is still shown.
2020-12-20 13.05.00.jpg
Revision C (April 1981) looks very similar to B (but with no A48(M) label), and D (Feb 82) is the first one showing the motorway to the east open.

I think the most likely outcome of all this is that the motorway was indeed constructed to Stormy Down, but never opened east of J37. This isn't unheard of - for example, there was a section of M6 to the south of J10 that was constructed along with J10, but it wasn't open to traffic until the section down to J9 was completed.
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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by M4Simon » Sun Dec 20, 2020 16:15

There was not a temporary terminus at Stormy Down, but I think Steven is right, the motorway was built and unused east of junction 37 about as far as the A48 bridge. There was an All Traffic sign on the eastbound approach to J37 and the road markings showed a reduction to two lanes, which then peeled off along the slip road. You could see the empty but finished motorway continuing up the hill. To continue eastwards, you would turn left at the J37 roundabout then right at the next roundabout onto the A48.

When the former A48(M) around Port Talbot was extended eastwards, part of the eastbound carriageway was brought into use between present J39 and the J38 roundabout before the rest of the motorway to J37 was complete. You could therefore argue that J38 was a temporary terminus for eastbound traffic.

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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by M4Simon » Sun Dec 20, 2020 16:48

roadtester wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:33
I don't know the answer to the question but thanks for the link to the M4 construction pics - really fascinating.
Picture 2 is the cast iron proof that the A48(M) (Castleton to St Mellons section) opened with the bridge over the M4 - once the subject of much debate on this forum. The caption is incorrect - the bulldozer was being driven to start work on the Cardiff bypass (29-32) section on the same day the Tredegar Park to St Mellons M4/A48(M) was opened.

I love the contraflow traffic management in no. 7 at Brynglas.

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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Truvelo » Sun Dec 20, 2020 18:50

The slip road stub at J37 here is pretty damning evidence.
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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Ross Spur » Sun Dec 20, 2020 20:04

Thanks for all your help and responses and nailing it.

It certainly was a catalogue of errors in the reporting at the time; The Gazette, local newspaper and Ordnance Survey - none got it right. Even Philips hedged their bets and showed it open on some editions and closed on others.
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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Marzo » Sat Dec 26, 2020 16:11

Steven,
The first of your photos shows the M4 passing under the B road just to the west of Junction 37. The B Revision shows it passing over the B road. Is it possible that in changing this the orange of the B road was removed, but filling the gap with motorway blue was forgotten?

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Re: Was Stormy Down an M4 temporary terminus?

Post by Steven » Sat Dec 26, 2020 22:58

Marzo wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 16:11
Steven,
The first of your photos shows the M4 passing under the B road just to the west of Junction 37. The B Revision shows it passing over the B road. Is it possible that in changing this the orange of the B road was removed, but filling the gap with motorway blue was forgotten?
Yes, it's entirely possible.
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