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M23

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M23
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (56)
From:  Hooley (TQ286552)
To:  Pease Pottage (TQ265336)
Distance:  16 miles (25.7 km)
Meets:  M25, A23, A264, A2011
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

National Highways

Traditional Counties

Surrey • Sussex

Route outline (key)
M23 Streatham – Mitcham
M23 Mitcham – Hooley
M23 Hooley – Pease Pottage
Junction List
Junc Northbound Southbound
1 Balham Loop Proposed start of motorway
2 Ringway 2 Start of motorway
3 A236 A236
4 A232 A232
5 M16 M16
6 A2022, B278 A2022, B278
7 A23 Start of motorway
8 M25 M25
9 (A23) (A23)
10 A264, A2011 A264, A2011
10A No exit B2036
11 Start of motorway A23, A264
Globe.png
For detailed information about this topic, see CBRD Motorway Database

Truncated LondonCrawley Motorway.

The motorway terminates at junction 7 at the northern end; it was planned to extend into London, with its terminus being on Ringway 2, the motorway replacement for the A205 South Circular Road. Only the rural section of the planned motorway was ever built, however its ambitions to be a major route in and out of London is clear by having a four lane + hard shoulder cross section on the short section between junction 7 & 8. The section of motorway between junctions 8 & 9 was proposed to be widened to four lanes in "Trunk Roads, England into the 1990s" whitepaper, however this never came about, instead the motorway between junctions 8 & 10 was upgraded to a four lane - all lanes running smart motorway in 2019-2020. There has been one new junction built since the completion of the motorway, junction 10A which only has North-facing slip roads built in 1997 as a part of a housing development in Crawley.

South of the M23 is the A23, which has now largely been upgraded to a high quality dual carriageway with three or two lanes all the way to the A27 at Brighton. Never has the M23 been officially proposed to extend beyond Crawley, but the structures along the A23 such as bridges & subways share the same datum point as the M23, despite the A23 having marker posts which count the other way from the A27. When "expressways" were first proposed it could of resulted in the A23 being upgraded to a motorway classification (either M23 or A23(M)), but the expressways plans never came to reality. In 2022 "Transport for the South East" had a "smart motorway" upgrade for the A23 between Crawley & Burgess Hill", however this didn't get past the options stage.

History

Original openings

In the 1960s the M23 was being planned to replace parts of the "A23 London - Brighton Trunk Road". At the time the A23 already had some parts of the road widened to a two lane dual carriageway, mostly south Gatwick Airport to Bolney, with a few more sections of dual carriageway at Pyecombe. It was decided that the M23 would run from central London where it would connect onto Ringway 2 all the way to the Southern side of Crawley with an additional spur link to Gatwick Airport, this would allow the recently widened A23 to be utilised, although all of the A23 south of the M23 has since been realigned and upgraded.

The rural section of the motorway from junction 7 to 11 was first put up for construction along with the the M25 Junctions 6 to 8, which would be connected at the Merstham Interchange using a Four Level Stack junction. The first section of the M23 to open was between Junction 7 & Junction 8 which allowed access onto the M25 to and from the North, this opened in December 1974, this section of motorway opened as the A23(M). In November of 1975 the rest of the motorway was opened all the way to Junction 11, and the whole motorway was numbered M23. The Gatwick Spur was opened at a similar time.

The Urban section was never put forward for tender as by 1973 the ringways scheme was largely cancelled and would mean no suitable roads for the M23 to end at.

New Junction (10A)

In 1997 a new junction was added to the M23. This being on the South Eastern side of Crawley. This connected the motorway to Balcombe Road (B2036) and only has North-facing slip roads and was constructed as part of the "Maidenbower" neighbourhood development in Crawley.

Smart Motorway Upgrade

In 2019/2020 the M23 between junction 8 & 10 was upgraded to an all-lanes running smart motorway. This provided 4 running lanes in both directions between junction 8 & 10 by removing the hard shoulder, however there is a lane drop at junction 9 for Gatwick Airport. The merge & diverge at Junction 8 with the M25 was majorly redesigned, as the A23 north of the M23 is still a two lane single carriageway, the amount of traffic heading into London in minimal when compared to traffic leaving the M23 for the M25. Now 3 of the four lanes head to the M25, with 2 of the four lanes continuing to London. The Gatwick Spur also received some changes as the Airportbound carriageway had its hardshoulder replaced with a traffic lane, however, due to its short length it is subjected to a fixed 50mph speed limit rather than a variable speed limit. The Motorwaybound carriageway remains two lanes + hardshoulder at 70mph. Other changes that were made during the smart motorway upgrade was an additional turn around at Coopers Hill for emergency vehicles along with slip roads enlarged at the Weatherhill Highway Maintenance Depot.

Proposed highway changes at Gatwick Airport

As part of Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) airport expansion plans there was planned changes to the M23 Gatwick Spur. Junction 9A is proposed to get a fly over - this is currently a roundabout where the M23 spur ends. In addition the Motorwaybound carraigeway which was not made all lanes running is proposed to become all-lanes running. Further the proposals suggest declassifying the spur road from a motorway to an all-purpose road, however the exact reason for this change is unclear as the spur road only leads to a motorway - comments from both National Highways & West Sussex County Council both question the need for this downgrade.

Services

When the M23 was being planned it was planned to have two service areas. In the unbuilt Northern section a service station was proposed at Woodmansterne, on the now border of Greater London & Surrey between Junction 6 (unbuilt) & Junction 7. This service area may of catered for both the M23 & M25, hence its close proximity to the M25. In the constructed Southern section of the motorway, a service station was initially proposed at Shipley Bridge as policies at the time required a distance of services being no less than 15 miles apart. Shipley Bridge Services would be located off of Junction 9, or between Junction 9 & 10, however when it came to constructing the M23 it was decided that it was too short to warrant having a services constructed. So no services were built on M23 for its opening, or planned to open.

Pease Pottage services - Geograph - 1409965.jpg
Main Article: Pease Pottage services

Pease Pottage services are located at the southern end of M23, and is one of the smallest MSAs on the British motorway network. It can be accessed off of Junction 11. The services were opened in 1988, but not as a designated "motorway service area" (MSA) until later.

Junctions

Hooley Interchange

Hooley Interchange.png
Main Article: Hooley Interchange

The Hooley Interchange is a junction between the M23 and A23. It is also the northern terminus of the M23, although that motorway was supposed to head further north. As a result, the junction is unfinished, leaving two unused flyovers over the A23. A short section of motorway north of the junction here was shown as "under construction" on OS maps until ~2005 despite the plans of a motorway north of here had been dead for decades.

Merstham Interchange

Merstham Interchange.PNG
Main Article: Merstham Interchange

The Merstham Interchange is a Four Level Stack junction between the M25 and the M23. It is one of three four-level stacks in the United Kingdom. The junction is only a mile south of the terminus of the M23, the Hooley Interchange. Consequently, very little traffic heads north from here and only two lanes run through the junction.

Gatwick Interchange

M23 Junction 9 - Gatwick Airport Spur Road, West Sussex - Geograph - 27708.jpg
Main Article: Gatwick Interchange

The Gatwick Interchange is a Roundabout interchange junction that connects the M23 Gatwick Spur to the M23 mainline. It only provides access to the Gatwick Spur which in turn leads to Gatwick Airport, Crawley & Horley.

Crawley Interchange

M23 J10 gantry.jpg
Main Article: Crawley Interchange

The Crawley Interchange is a Roundabout interchange junction that connects the A2011 & A264 to serve the towns of Crawley & East Grinstead. Initially the Junction only connected on the A2011 which was built at the same time as the M23, however in the late 1980s the Copthorne Link was built which connected the A264 to the motorway.

Balcombe Road Junction

M23 towards London - Geograph - 5744535.jpg
Main Article: Balcombe Road Junction

The Balcombe Road Junction is a Half dumbbell junction that connects the M23 to the B2036 with North-facing slip roads only. It was built in 1997 to serve a new neighbourhood of Crawley.

Pease Pottage Interchange

Junction 11, A23 - M23 - Geograph - 2824025.jpg
Main Article: Pease Pottage Interchange

The Pease Pottage Interchangee is a Roundabout interchange junction which is the terminus point of the M23. The route continues as the A23 south towards Brighton. From the Roundabout the A23 into Crawley, A264 Westbound & Motorway Service Area can be accessed. The A264 South Western Crawley Bypass was only completed in the 1990s & the junction received major works in 2019-20

Opening Dates

For detailed information about this section, see Roads.org.uk Motorway Database: M23 Timeline

Traffic Data

From [1]

Link Countpoint 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
J7-8 36036 33936 32013 28895 30757 34908 34630 34080 25993
J8-9 17739 104558 108445 111341 118959 126876 130770 111022 112815 118317 107215 106881 113156 112027 118678 130401 123685 127242 110574 60965
J9-9A (spur) 46035 52847 57184 50082 49979 47210 69902
J9-10 26039 116360 105243 105243 103352 116179 113624 105917 103480 98054 93979 100958 105487 103233 98293 93596 94698 66731
J10-10A 74304 95143 98588 80148 96858 98865 95959 84802 97987 91311 89999 88490 91213 84315 66972
J10A-11 6037 78706 85249 82651 89546 88299 91474 97808 93908 78418 82121 90324 75883 71984 75581 80469 55619


Links

legislation.gov.uk

Roads.org.uk

Relating to Smart Motorway

Roads UK

Photo Galleries



M23
Junctions
Services
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (56)
M23 Northbound near Nutfield - Geograph - 1676267.jpgM23 - The 30 year temporary layout at J7 - Coppermine - 19727.jpgM23 1975 - Coppermine - 18892.jpgM23 northern end - Coppermine - 170.jpgJunction 11, A23 - M23 - Geograph - 2824025.jpg
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