Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

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Peter350
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Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Peter350 »

In the UK, it is extremely rare, if not nonexistent for a major new road to be built where no transport corridor previously existed. This is because most of the country developed its road network over centuries and where a new road was built, it just ran parallel to an existing one nearby.

There are several other countries however where much of its land has still not been built on, and consequently never had a road built through certain areas until recently. An example is the US I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona. Although intended to bypass the US-91 Highway, it follows a completely different route through much more challenging terrain, hence why no previous road existed there along that axis.

Best examples for this thread are those where before the specified highway was built, you had to walk dozens (or even hundreds) of miles to find the next nearest road.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by WHBM »

Bristol to Newport/Cardiff had no road corridor prior to the M4. Likewise Edinburgh to Fife.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Chris Bertram »

WHBM wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 21:14 Bristol to Newport/Cardiff had no road corridor prior to the M4. Likewise Edinburgh to Fife.
You could also argue that substantial lengths of M1 and M6 diverge markedly from existing trunk roads of the time. M62 does as well, I think, and M50 represents a new route for its entire length.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by owen b »

I suspect that the A14 from Catthorpe to west of Kettering (Rothwell J3) is the most recent major new road in GB of significant distance (say over 10 miles) not to follow an existing major road corridor. Most major road improvements since then have been widenings, realignments, bypasses etc. The M6 Toll shadows fairly major roads, the A50 south of Derby is arguably a glorified bypass.

The Lower Thames Crossing might be the next one.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Bryn666 »

The M65 cut a new line across from Preston to Blackburn - it followed the route of the National Grid rather than existing roads.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Peter350 »

I notice that all examples posted so far are in the UK rather than abroad, and to be fair any bridge or tunnel crossing a large estuary would count as no previous road existed in its place, although whether the ferries they replaced count as road corridors is debatable.

Examples like the M50 and A14 are more debatable. While they were built some distance from the roads they intended to replace, they aren’t exactly “remote” as in no road existed there previously. All of these have numerous minor roads in their vicinity, and while not exactly suitable for high volumes of traffic, they are there to use in a genuine emergency unlike bridges where there is no choice but to detour miles out of your way.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

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I do not think the HA would build a road without demonstrable demand

The only one I can think of is Russia replacing this track with a HQDC
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by crazyknightsfan »

I feel like Australia will have a lot of examples of this, given the comparatively later period during which the remote road system was developed.

One example from 1999 is the Ripon Hills Road in the Pilbara Region of WA. This was a completely new sealed road on a new alignment to service mining developments at Woodie Woodie and Telfer. Previous road access was via the Warrawagine Road which was much longer, poor alignment, several open river crossings and of course unsealed. There was no other road within cooee of its 130km length.

An earlier examples from the 1960s would be the Buchanan Highway (NT) from the Stuart Highway west to Top Springs and Timber Creek - this was a brand new road built to enable haulage of cattle by road train. The only previous transport access along this axis was the stock route (yes, droving stock on hoof) from Newcastle Waters to Top Springs called the Murranji Track.
Last edited by crazyknightsfan on Mon Aug 16, 2021 14:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Osthagen »

This fits the M65 to a tee. The motorway actually runs quite a divergent course from the A59, with which it runs parallel. There otherwise never seems to have been a coherent Colne-Burnley-Blackburn-Preston corridor.

Dare I say M25? I can’t think of any other routes that took a 100-mile (and then some) loop around the Smoke.

The M56 is only an approximate replacement for the A56, both serve the Manchester-Chester connection but the motorway cuts a new groove around Manchester Airport.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by crazyknightsfan »

Some more Australian examples that may or may not fit OP's thinking.

The Pacific Highway between Twelve Mile Creek and Taree was constructed as a completely new alignment of the highway between 1952 and 1963. The previous route was via Booral, Gloucester, Stroud and Tinonee (now Bucketts Way). There were existing low standard roads from Twelve Mile Creek to just beyond Karuah, and from Bulahdelah to Taree, but the 28km section between Bundabah Creek and Bulahdelah was a completely new alignment through country which had no road access.

Between 1939 and 1960 a completely new road was built over the Gibraltar Range to connect Grafton and Glen Innes. This 115km route followed an existing low standard road as far as Jackadgery but the road beyond that over the range was a completely new alignment through the middle of nowhere.

The Nanutarra-Wittenoom Road (now Nanutarra-Munjina Road as Wittenoom has been deleted as an official place) was built in the 1970s as a completely new road. The only road access into this sparsely populated area were tracks linking cattle stations to each other. The only formal road access to the Hamersley Range area was from Roebourne or Port Hedland to Wittenoom, or across the Roy Hill.

Which brings me to perhaps the most significant example - the Great Northern Highway between Newman and near Port Hedland. This 415km long section of highway was constructed as a completely new road on a new alignment in the 1980s to complete the sealed Perth-Darwin National Highway link. The former Great Northern Highway route was via Nullagine and Marble Bar, so you could say that this was built as a "bypass", but not really - it was located specifically to serve existing and future mining developments and provide access to the central Pilbara. It's actually a good 100km or so longer than the old GNH route for the small amount of through traffic this is proceeding straight through to Broome.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by JohnnyMo »

Osthagen wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 14:10 This fits the M65 to a tee. The motorway actually runs quite a divergent course from the A59, with which it runs parallel. There otherwise never seems to have been a coherent Colne-Burnley-Blackburn-Preston corridor.
Prior to the M65 you had A59(T) - A679(T) - A56(?) up the East Lancs valley. Those towns were linked by trunk roads at least between Preston and Burnley
With an alternative route A675 - A674 - A678 - A671 again between Preston and Burnley so you can not claim there were no roads prior to the M65 being built.

I admit there was no single Annn running from Colne to Preston
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Bryn666 »

JohnnyMo wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 16:21
Osthagen wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 14:10 This fits the M65 to a tee. The motorway actually runs quite a divergent course from the A59, with which it runs parallel. There otherwise never seems to have been a coherent Colne-Burnley-Blackburn-Preston corridor.
Prior to the M65 you had A59(T) - A679(T) - A56(?) up the East Lancs valley. Those towns were linked by trunk roads at least between Preston and Burnley
With an alternative route A675 - A674 - A678 - A671 again between Preston and Burnley so you can not claim there were no roads prior to the M65 being built.

I admit there was no single Annn running from Colne to Preston
The Preston-Halifax trunk road was A59-A677-A6119-A679-A646, and lasted until about 2001, with the obvious exception that the Preston-Burnley section was replaced with the M65 in stages between 1984 and 1997. This is why the M65 stops being trunk at J10 (although the trunk road always diverged at J9, the link from J9 to 10 was built as a trunk road and has remained one ever since). There was never a trunk road through Burnley to Colne - this was always the A59/A629 down to Keighley. Indeed, the A56 north of Colne was secondary until about 20 years ago - it was changed to primary when the roundabout at Broughton on the A59 was built.

The A629 and A59 are obviously no longer trunk either.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Chris5156 »

I nominate the Dutch A7 running over the Afsluitdijk.

You could also, of course, have any of the roads around Lelystad or Almere, given that it's all 20th century development on reclaimed land.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Owain »

And I'll give you the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

Unlike most of the other Alpine tunnels, there was no existing road over the mountains between the beginning and end points.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by owen b »

Bryn666 wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 10:03 The M65 cut a new line across from Preston to Blackburn - it followed the route of the National Grid rather than existing roads.
I'd forgotten about that one :oops: . I haven't been along that section of the M65.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Bryn666 »

owen b wrote: Tue Aug 17, 2021 00:14
Bryn666 wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 10:03 The M65 cut a new line across from Preston to Blackburn - it followed the route of the National Grid rather than existing roads.
I'd forgotten about that one :oops: . I haven't been along that section of the M65.
I would say you're missing out... but you're really not. It's quite non-descript beyond being a late 1990s motorway with some but not total provision for widening.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by WHBM »

Russia is similar to Australia, new roads opening in the last few years have provided the first road across the country - last section opened in I believe 2020. Before that sections in Siberia were unpaved, impassible for many months, cars had to be loaded onto trains, etc. Big national government project. Until quite recently cars in Russia were generally seen as local/within the urban area transport. Contrary to much belief the Russians are quite capable of building all-weather roads, but many suffer from being done to an inadequate standard, and deteriorate.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

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Chris5156 wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 18:52 I nominate the Dutch A7 running over the Afsluitdijk.

You could also, of course, have any of the roads around Lelystad or Almere, given that it's all 20th century development on reclaimed land.
Definitely have the roads in Flevoland, but did the Afsluitsdijk and therefore the A7 replace ferries? Would they really count? If so the Lake Ponchartrain causeway in Louisiana in the USA would count as would the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and PEI.
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

Post by Alderpoint »

Coquihalla Highway in BC, Canada.
Highway 65 - Dead Sea Highway in Jordan.

Both now fantasic roads to drive, but the Coq when I've driven it many times in winter conditions is always far more challenging that the Dead Sea Highway where the biggest hazard is the (armed) speed cops - mea culpa....
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Re: Highways passing through a corridor where no previous road existed

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exiled wrote: Tue Aug 17, 2021 21:14
Chris5156 wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 18:52 I nominate the Dutch A7 running over the Afsluitdijk.

You could also, of course, have any of the roads around Lelystad or Almere, given that it's all 20th century development on reclaimed land.
Definitely have the roads in Flevoland, but did the Afsluitsdijk and therefore the A7 replace ferries? Would they really count? If so the Lake Ponchartrain causeway in Louisiana in the USA would count as would the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and PEI.
I don't think that the Afsluitdijk replaced any ferrries - it was opened in 1932 and any freight that was carried between Friesland and Amsterdam would probably have been carried directly from the port of Harlingen (the home of my grandfather) or from Leeuwarden using the Van Harinxmakanaal. This canal was first proposed in 1901 and only opened in 1951, after the Afsluitdijk was opened. The other alternative was to use the GWR (Great Way Round).
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