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The start of the Aston Expressway - Geograph - 15095.jpg
The Aston Expressway, A38(M)
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An Expressway is an official term used by the Department for Transport and Highways England to describe Dual Carriageway Trunk Roads that are mostly grade separated, mostly dual carriageway and capable of providing mile a minute speeds outside of urban areas. They are designed to be capable of providing motorway standard journeys that are reliable and resilient to delay. They are also designed to be as safe as motorways, but are generally built where a motorway is not needed, normally because the traffic demand isn't there to fill one.

Expressway is also part of the official name of some roads, for example the Runcorn Expressways, the A38 Devon Expressway, A5300 Knowsley Expressway near Liverpool, the A38(M) Aston Expressway in Birmingham, and the M6 Toll, referred to on signs as the Midland Expressway.

The A14 is a good example of an expressway

Expressways have been around for many years, although most have not been named as such. The A12 in East Anglia, the A14, the A50 from the M1 to Stoke and the A30 from Honiton to Camborne have, for many years, been dual carriageways for most of their distances and have provided a high standard of performance, breathing life into areas that needed them, and providing relief to those who were plagued by traffic through the years. Some even carry traffic levels higher than some motorways and as a result are now being upgraded to cope.

Although the term only applies in England for Dual Carriageways on the Strategic Road Network, there are several roads that are under the control of a local authority that could be classified as expressways. These include the A380 from the A38 to the East Devon Coast, the A338 Wessex Way and the A130 from Benfleet to Chelmsford. The Heads of the Valleys Road (A465) in Wales and the A720 in Scotland are also good examples of roads that could be Expressways.

Finally, Expressway is also part of the title of Midland Expressway, the owners and operators of M6 Toll, though it is not part of the name of the road itself.

December 2017 proposals

In December 2017, further details were given about expressways as part of a report into the Strategic Road Network. The proposal includes different expressway types (of I - IV) with an aspiration that the highest quality expressways will be given motorway designation and an Ax(M) number. (Source: Highways England Strategic Road Network Initial Report)

Phase 1: a 2-3 lane dual carriageway, with no roundabouts, traffic lights or right turns on the main carriageway, some alternative provision for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, and slow moving vehicles.

Phase 2: replacing central reservation barriers with safer, rigid concrete barriers for these high flow A-road sections.

Phase 3: introduction of technology and operational changes, including Traffic Officer patrol and emergency areas. A scheme may designate as a motorway and prohibit vulnerable road users and slow-moving vehicles if appropriate alternative provision is available, and there are appropriate terminal points.

Phase 4: motorway designation of the complete corridor.

List of official expressways in England

NB includes planned and potential expressways as well as current ones. Only includes trunk roads. Source p49

Where a route uses two diffrent roads but up to 1 junction of one of the roads they are grouped together.

Current Road From To Current Lanes Junction Types Notes
A1 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 10 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 14 D2 Some GSJ, some Roundabouts, some LILO Many junctions would need to be removed or redesigned to be compliant. The section between J14 and J13 has already been upgraded to expressway standard when it was redesigned to interchange with the new A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. This section also operates with variable speed limits.
A1 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 17 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 34 D2 Some Roundabouts, many right turns, GSJ at larger roads. Would require many improvements to junctions as well as providing an alternative route for slow-moving traffic, animals and cyclists.
A1 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 34 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 40 D2 Mostly LILO, does have a few GSJ. Would require many improvement to junctions as well as providing an alternative route for slow-moving traffic, animals and cyclists. Also, properties are situated along the A1.
A1 Chopsticks icon.png A1(M) 65 A1 Denwick Interchange D2/S2 Many at-grade junctions Parts still single carriageway
A2 Chopsticks icon.png M2 1 A2 (2 M25) D4M All GSJ Built to motorway standard, with 4 lanes in each direction, full-width hard shoulders, lane control, variable message signs, SOS phones and CCTV.
A3 Chopsticks icon.png A3(M) 1 A3 Hook Junction D2 Majority GSJ
A5 Chopsticks icon.png M547 A5 Preston Island D2 No junctions or access No changes required.
A6 / A5111 A50 (expy) 2 A52 (expy) Spondon Roundabout D2 1 Roundabout, rest GSJ
A11 Chopsticks icon.png M11 9A A14 (expy) 36 D2 All GSJ
A11 A14 (expy) 38 A11 Thickthorn Interchange D2 Most GSJ, some LILO
A12 A12 11 A12 33 D2 Mostly GSJ
A13 A13 Mar Dyke A13 Baker Street Interchange D3 2 GSJ junctions Only the short section that connects the M25 to Tilbury (via A1089).
A14 Chopsticks icon.png M6 1 A14 (expy) 21 D2/D3 Majority GSJ
A14 A14 (expy) 21 A14 (expy) 31 D3ALR/D4AL All GSJ This section was opened on 5 May 2020 as part of the finished A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon upgrade. Junctions 26-30 inclusive no longer exist, and the scheme finishes at the Girton interchange, still numbered J31. The road is built to Smart Motorway standard and operates as one, with variable speed limits and all-lane running, but the road was not opened as a motorway, despite plans to this end in mid-2019.
A14 A14 (expy) 31 A14 62 D2/D3 Majority GSJ, few roundabouts such as at A14 J60
A19 A168 (expy) York Road Interchange A1 80 D2, some urban parts D3 Majority GSJ, are some LILO and even right turns. South part of route continues as the A168
A20 Chopsticks icon.png M20 12 A20 Dover D2 2 GSJ, then roundabouts and junctions within Dover Section of A20 that connects the M20 to Dover
A21 Chopsticks icon.png M25 5 A21 Pembury Interchange D2 All GSJ Unclear where southern end would be, Pembury Interchange would make the most sense since it provides access to the A228 and A264, however that would be within the Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so would be more likely to be at Quarry Hill Interchange or Vauxhall Interchange with the A26.
A23 Chopsticks icon.png M23 11 A23 Patcham Interchange About 60% 3, 40% 2 All GSJ, some properties.
A27 Chopsticks icon.png M27 12 A27 Southerham Roundabout M27 to A3(M) is D4M (originally intended to be Chopsticks icon.png M27, rest is majority D2, one section with D3, and S2 through two towns Loads of roundabouts, loads of LILO, few right turns and GSJ at larger roads. An expressway should be able to reach the west side of Chichester due to the road was originally designed to be a motorway. HE currently working on dualling through the towns. Chichester has 6 roundabouts and is extremely congested.
A30 A303 Chopsticks icon.png M5 29 66% D2, 34% S2 D2 all GSJ, S2 typical of a normal S2 countryside road.
A30 Chopsticks icon.png M5 29 A303 (expy) Penzance Parts D2, parts S2 GSJ on D2 parts, mostly roundabouts on S2 parts.
A31 Chopsticks icon.png M27 1 A31 Palmersford Roundabout dD2 Mostly LILO or GSJ, few roundabouts and no right turns Passes through the New Forest National Park, so it would be difficult to close junctions to put traffic onto a new side road.
A34 Chopsticks icon.png M3 9 A41 9 (M40) D2 All GSJ or LILO
A38 Chopsticks icon.png M5 31 A38 Manadon Roundabout D2, parts are D3 Mostly GSJ, some LILO and properties between Buckfastleigh and Marley Head. No right turns. Currently known as the 'Devon Expressway'.
A38 / A5148 Chopsticks icon.png M6 Toll T5 A38 28 (M1) D2 Mostly GSJ, except in Derby where there are roundabouts
A40 / A449 Chopsticks icon.png M50 4 A40 Into Wales D2 Only Roundabouts is only a short distance into Wales, not clear wether roads in Wales will be upgraded to expressways in the future.
A42 Chopsticks icon.png M42 11 Chopsticks icon.png M1 23A D2 Only GSJ Could be called the M42 and not A42(M)
A453 Chopsticks icon.png M1 24 A52 Silverdale Interchange at-grade crossroad and junction D2 GSJ, Roundabouts and
A45 A45 1 A45 13 (A14) Majority D2, S2 on northern end Currently numbered GSJ (1 to 18) then 2 roundabouts
A45 A45 Stivichall Interchange A45 Tollbar End D3 GSJ Makes up the A46 route for 1 junction where the A46 and A45 run in multiplex
A46 A46 15 (M1) A45 Stivichall Interchange D3 All GSJ
A46 A45 Tollbar End Chopsticks icon.png M69 Walsgrove Triangle D2 Roundabouts
A46 Chopsticks icon.png M1 21A A1 Winthorpe Interchange 2 Mostly GSJ apart from 1 roundabout near Syston and roundabouts in Newark Has dedicated adjacent local access road for non-motorway traffic
A47 A47 Swaffham Interchange A47 Postwick Interchange D2 on urban bypasses, S2 elsewhere GSJ on D2 sections
A50 Chopsticks icon.png M1 24 A500 (expy) Sideway Interchange D2 Mostly GSJ, some roundabouts
A52 A5111 (expy) Spondon Roundabout A453 (expy) Silverdale Interchange D2 Roundabouts and GSJ
A55 Chopsticks icon.png M53 12 A55 37 D2 All GSJ Contiunes into Wales. Potential to be extension of the M53
A63 M64 38 A63 Ferriby Interchange D2 All GSJ Potential extension of the M64
A64 A64 44 (A1(M)) A64 Hopgrove Roundabout D2 All GSJ
A66 Chopsticks icon.png A66(M) Blackwell Roundabout A66 D2 and S2 Mostly roundabouts, GSJ in Middlesbrough
A120 Chopsticks icon.png M11 8A A120 Panners Interchange D2 Only GSJ
A160 A180 (exPy) A160 Immingham D2 2 roundabouts A short spur off the A180 that connects to the Immingham docks.
A174 A19 (expy) A174 D2 All GSJ except the end where it comes non-primary at a roundabout
A180 Chopsticks icon.png M180 5 A180 Grimsby D2 GSJ apart from 3 roundabouts in Grimsby Potential to be extension of the M180
A249 A249 5 (M2) A249 Sheerness D2 All GSJ until on the Island of Sheppy, where it is majority roundabouts. Notes
A303 M3 8 A30 (expy) Penzance D2, parts S2 Pretty much all GSJ. Some at-grade junctions when S2.
A358 A303 (expy) Southfields Roundabout Chopsticks icon.png M5 25 Mostly S2, some D2 All at-grade junctions Mostly single carriageway, however would make up a M3 to M5 expressway with the A303
A404 Chopsticks icon.png A404(M) 9b Chopsticks icon.png M40 4 D2 Mostly GSJ, 1 roundabout and a few minor LILO
A449 / A5 Chopsticks icon.png M54 2 Chopsticks icon.png M6 12 D2 Mostly at-grade junctions and roundabout Would use the A449 which is D2, and a realigned A5 to provide a shorter journey between the north and the west.
A421 Chopsticks icon.png M1 13 A1 Black Cat Roundabout D2 All GSJ Recently upgraded to dual carriageway.
A428 A1 Wyboston Interchange A14 (expy) 31 Parts D2 and S2 At-grade for S2 and GSJ for D2
A494 Chopsticks icon.png M56 16 A494 Wales D2 Only GSJ Would likely be an extension of the M56, unclear how far it would go into Wales
A500 Chopsticks icon.png M6 15 Chopsticks icon.png M6 16 D2 Only GSJ Connects the A50 (expy) to the M6.
A550 Chopsticks icon.png M53 5 A494 (expy) Wales S2 All at-grade Would require a new road.
A696 A1 77 A696 Newcastle Airport D2 All GSJ Short section of the A696 connecting the A1 to the airport
A1089 A13 (expy) 21 A1089 Tilbury Port D2 Mostly GSJ, and 1 roundabout

Road Basics
Physical layoutSingle track • Single carriageway • Dual carriageway • High Quality Dual Carriageway • Road Widths • Urban Streets • Abandoned Road
Legal typesAll-purpose Road • Special Road • Motorway • Trunk road • Principal road • Classified Numbered road • Classified Unnumbered Road • Unclassified road • Primary Route • Non Primary Route • Right of Way • Unadopted road
Road numbers1922 Road Lists • Classification • Defunct road • Euroroutes • MoT Maps • National Cycle Network • Numbering principles • Numbering anomalies • Disputed Numbers • Recycled number • Unallocated numbers • Fictional Road Numbers • Junction numbers • Essential Traffic Routes • Street Names
Road FeaturesArterial Road • Automatic Bollard • Balancing Pond • Belisha Beacon • Bott's Dots • Bypass • Cannon • Cats' Eyes • Cattle Grid • CD Lanes • Central Reservation • Chopsticks • Crash Barrier • Cuttings and Embankments • Cycle Lane • Emergency Phone • Escape lane • Expressway • Fingerpost • Flare • Ford • Gore • Green Bridge • Green Wave • Hairpin bend • Hard shoulder • Island • Junction • Layby • Level Crossing • Local Access Road • Managed Motorways • Milestone • Multi Lane Drop • Multiplex • No-Car Lane • Nose • Oxbow Road • Parapet • Petrol station • Play Street • Raised Pavement Markers • Ramp Metering • Retaining Wall • Road Studs • Roadside Art • Roadside Quarry • Roadworks • Secret motorway • Service Area • Signage • Smart Motorway • Snow pole • Speed Limit • Spur • Street Lighting • Surface Dressing • Temporary terminus • Throughpass • Tidal Flow • Tiger tail • Toll booth • Traffic cone • Traffic Signals • Tunnel • Vehicle Recovery • Walking and Cycling Friendly Road • Weaving • Wig-Wag Signals • Winter Maintenance • Zip merge
Traffic CalmingBuild-Outs • Chicane • Dragon's Teeth • Home Zone • Low Traffic Neighbourhood • Pinch Point • Quiet Lane • Rumble strips • Safety Cameras • Sleeping Policeman • Speed bump
Public Transport FeaturesBus Lane • Bus stop • Guided Busway • Park and Ride • Tramway • Trolleybus System
Other termsAnderson report • Guildford Rules • Highway Authority • Highway Code • Model Traffic Area • Motorway alphabet • Pre-Worboys • Primary Destinations • Roads by 10 • Transport alphabet • Worboys report

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