|Location Map ( geo)|
|Via:||Érd, Székesféhervár, Siófok, Nagykanizsa|
|Distance:||145 miles (233.3 km)|
|Meets:||M1, M0, Route 7, Route 63, Route 8, Route 71, Route 65, Route 67, Route 68, Route 76, Route 74, M70, A4|
The M7 was the first motorway in Hungary and is only one of 5 fully completed motorways in the country at present. At a length of 233 km, it passes through 6 Hungarian counties which include: Budapest, Pest County, Féjer County, Veszprém, Somogy County, Zala County. It provides a direct motorway connection to the cities of Érd, Székesféhervár, Siófok, Nagykanizsa and indirectly to Veszprém, Kaposvár and Keszthely. The road eventually splits a few kilometres before reaching the Croatian border which connects Budapest both to Croatia as it runs straight into the A4 and also to Slovenia (via the M70).
Budapest to Székesféhervár
The M7 begins on the outskirts of western Budapest, starting out as a bypass for Budaörs around the point where route 1 and route 7 split from each other. For the first few kilometres the road is D3M with 4 lanes in some sections. Due to highway numbering rules in Hungary, the likely proximity of both route 1 and 7 have resulted in this first section being numbered as a multiplex of the M1 and the M7.
Eventually the road splits at a fork junction just beyond some big retail parks. On approach to the split westbound, the road is D3M with lane 1 dropping off to become the M1 and lane 3 dropping to the right to become the M7 with lane 2 splitting between both motorways. On the eastbound approach, the M7 merges with the M1 as a 2 lane gain.
After the split, the M7 passes below a railway bridge and continues as D2M with a very wide central reservation. Soon it meets the M0 at a large cloverleaf interchange which also provides local access to Érd (north). The M7 continues to bypass Érd, forming the western flank of a highway "box" which surrounds 3 sides of the city. For the next 50 kilometres, the eastbound carriageway towards Budapest has 3 running lanes with a hard shoulder and only 2 lanes and hard shoulder heading westbound. For much of this section it looks like there is enough space for a third lane to be added on the westbound carriageway in the central reservation.
Once past Érd the motorway descends a fairly steep hill before running over relatively flat ground for the remainder of the journey to Székesféhervár. Once reaching the Székesféhervár bypass, the eastbound carriageway returns to being 2 lanes and hard shoulder - it gains the third lane at approximately the 64 kilometre distance marker post of the M7. There are future plans for the M7 to meet the M8 on the western side of Székesféhervár.
The M7 continues from Székesféhervár over quite flat terrain until it reaches the region of lake Balaton region. Known as the Hungarian sea, it spans around 80 km and is a very popular tourist region outside of Budapest. Once it bypasses the city of Siófok, a tight corner sweeps around to the right and the road begins to climb uphill into the hills on the south side of the lake. At times this section is very reminiscent of the M90 traversing the Ochils.
Soon the speed limit is reduced to 110 km and at the top of an uphill stretch is a fairly compact junction. The hard shoulder disappears and the M7 passes over the very impressive Kőröshegy Viaduct which gives impressive views ahead and over the lake when it can be seen through the wind protective barriers. After the drama of the viaduct the road continues much the same up and down through the hills. Again for much of this section, it appears as if there would not be too much problems adding extra lanes though this will not be possible over the viaduct.
Exit 135 currently provides an exit for Route 67 which is currently being upgraded to dual carriageway to connect to Kaposvár to become the R67 as part of Hungary's highway plan. On the south western end of Lake Balaton, the future M76 will connect Keszthely to the M7 at exit 175.
The first section of the M7 opened at Budaörs in the 1960's. This was soon extended though most likely as a single carriageway. By 2001 significant works were underway between Budapest and Székesfehérvár to construct the second carriageway and the route was extended as far as Siófok by 2003. By 2006 much of the remainder of the route to the Croatian border was under construction with a small section being open with some of the M70. The entire route was open by 2012.