|From:||Southampton Airport (SU447170)|
|To:||Southampton City Centre (SU410119)|
|Distance:||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The M272 is the unbuilt Portswood Link Motorway in Southampton.
Starting on the A335 Wide Lane near Eastleigh Aiport (now Southampton International) it was to have had a free-flow junction with the M27 a bit further south at Stoneham Interchange. After a junction at the A35 in Swaythling, it follows the railway to St Denys, with a junction with the A3035. From St Denys this it curves and goes through Bevois Town, going into a cutting, reaching The Avenue (A33) around Archers Road, where there's a junction. After this, the Portswood link was to go into a tunnel and curve round, under Polygon to emerge (perhaps with a junction with Commercial Road near Hill Lane and Shirley Road), go over the railway and continue curving into the Western Terminal Interchange, a large car park complex on the site of modern-day West Quay, with access from the Western Approach (A36, now A33) as well, but no local access.
With the exception of the M27 junction and Wide Lane, all junctions would only allow traffic to head out of the city. The route was to be D3 throughout and 640 housing units would had been bulldozed for the scheme.
This scheme was proposed by the Southampton Corporation in 1971, costing the scheme at £12.17 million, plus a bit more for a full Western Terminal Interchange. This was shown to be optimistic at the public enquiry, and the real costs about £22.13, plus unquantified costs. The Corporation were also accused of overstating the benefits by using the 1981 (full scheme) benefits to justify phase 1, which had half the benefits.
Phase 1 was from Wide Lane to The Avenue, to be opened in 1978. Phase 2 was from The Avenue to the Western Terminal Interchange was to be opened in 1981.
Many of the benefits would have come from a new development called Horton Heath, north of the M27 near junction 5 and unbuilt junction 6. 39,000 people were to be living there in 1991. However the benefits didn't take into account the rapid transport link to Horton Heath that was proposed at the same time, nor the park and ride facility, bus and train improvements (which were probably justified assuming that the Portswood Link, and Townhill Link Motorway weren't built). The Horton Heath plan died a couple of years later with a change of council and the motorway plan went with it - though often popped up again in the mid-80s.
In the mid-80s, the A335 Swaythling Link opened as D2, right on the line of the proposed motorway (north of the A35 only), a scheme called 'M27 Swaythling link' hung around for a few miles later, until 1989 when Thomas Lewis Way opened, bypassing Portswood along the M272 line (though as a wide S2 with at-grade junctions), though connecting to Lodge Road (which leads to The Avenue) and the A335 Bevois Valley Road a bit to the north of where the road would have crossed the A335 originally.
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