Duplicated roads or unfinished business? SABRE logo

A lot of discussion about duplicated roads fails to appreciate quite how ambitious the road building programme is. Here is the explanation of those apparently duplicated numbers.

Part of a grand plan to speed tourists from the East Midlands to the Lake District, avoiding the M6, only the two ends have been built so far. Infortunately, it is unlikely to be completed, as the person drawing up the route was new to the job and thought the red dotted lines on the map were A roads under construction: the proposed route therefore goes along Striding Edge on Helvellyn.

Like the A329(M) and the A3(M), the A601(M) is a relief road for the A601 in Derby. And very effective it is too - you can go all the way from the A6 to the B6254, avoiding Derby completely! Certainly, very little trafficis tempted to use the A601 if it can use the A601(M) instead.

The proposed East Coast Expressway, so far only short stretches in Gateshead and Chelmsford. Note that the population of Eastern England is too sparse to justify a full-blown motorway.

Bradford to Blackburn. The approach roads for an abortive Pennine Tunnel.

Cheshunt to Wisbech - a railways into roads project: the Liverpool St - Ely - Wisbech route is only wide enough for the resulting road to have "B" status.

There is a little known superstition that says that if Bury St Edmunds ever gets a bypass, St Edmund will turn in his grave. Since such subterranean activity could cause structural damage on the surface, the authorities were carful to ensure that the A14 passes through the town. Their solution to the problem of the Barton to Westley road is ingenious: from the junction with the A14 and A1302 it multiplexes with the A1302 Newmarket Road, and then along Weston Way, Beetons Way, and Tollgate Lane (now all declassified) and out again as the Thetford Road. There is the minor inconvenience that it crosses over itself at Fornham St Genevieve, but this is another superstition - St Genevieve is the patron saint of poor navigators, so in her honour all the road signs on the four roads approaching the junction are identical.

The Wales Bypass - of very ancient origin. It followed the coast, from Swansea through the Menai Gorge (as it then was) to Flint, but was almost competely obliterated when sea levels rose at the end of the Ice Age.

Scotland is unhappy about having its roads at the end of the list, and now it has its own government it is to start a comprehensive programme of renumbering all its roads to duplicate English ones. However, to avoid protests they are sneaking a few in early, hoping to establish the principle before anyone notices.


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