Comments Archive (updated September 07):
Simon Hardy starts us off:
How can the M32 be a pathetic motorway?
Its a fantastic way to get quickly into a city. (taking into account it goes further into Bristol than any other motorway does into any other city).
It was very useful back in November during the M4 closure
The draw backs are
a, if there is an accident, it piles back to the M4
b, the starting roundabout can be scary
It does have a quality that exceeds the supposed ring road as that is always jammed.
Jim Cobb disagrees with the M32 even being here!
Labelling a motorway as Pathetic because it is a bit short and because some of it might downgraded in the future is a little weak. The motorway was built to link the M4 with the centre of Bristol and that is exactly what it does. It often gets overloaded, but that is more down to under-specced junctions off the motorway rather than a fault of the motorway itself. The downgrading is only a proposal at the moment and that depends on securing suitable funding for the motorway.
Colin Johnstone sticks up for the M32 as well:
The M32 is a good little stretch of motorway. There are a couple of dodgy bumps when you reach the bridge section but it is good otherwise. It provides the quickest route into the city centre for all (including myself) who live North of Bristol. If they put a bus lane on it then it should be deemed pathetic.
Chris Jeffs has a great story from the early days of the M32:
I was living in Bristol in 1970 when the second section opened and the local paper gleefully published huge front page photos of a deserted motorway and ranted about it being a criminal waste of public money. (Local Tory rags, eh? Never change.) Of course, they didn't spoil the story by pointing out that it was only empty because the M4 eastwards towards London was still under construction.
The M32's surroundings have changed dramatically in 2006.
In the last photo of your tour, the large office block in the background, Tollgate House, got demolished around April-May 2006, as well as the multi-storey car park behind it.
It really feels different driving into Bristol now.
I think the M32 has one of the most varied surroundings of any motorway. The dominating radio tower, the big blue Ikea box, the suspended-roof Tesco, the 'Banksy' graffitied railway bridge, the deep, dark cutting and until recently, Tollgate House, which a few years back was plastered with a huge FCUK advert.
It's short, but its certainly not pathetic.
In general I will stick up for the usefulness of the M32.
However whoever designed the exit road from Junction 2 (city bound) needs shooting. The motorway here is elevated and the slip road drops steeply towards a roundabout but just before the roundabout traffic has to merge with another main road (Stapleton Rd) coming in from the left. Turning left towards Fishponds from the M32 is a nightmare as you have to cut across the other road to do this, and going right towards Horfield/IKEA from Stapleton Road means you have to cut across the two lanes of the slip road. OK in the small wee hours but a nightmare for the most part of the day.
I hope they don't downgrade this - it's incredibly good as a stress reliever at the end of the day! I live in East Bristol and using this motorway and the ring road allows me to get home quicker than if I drive direct (at double the distance!).
Downgrading seems unlikely for another reason - some of the new overhead motorway matrix signals have just been insalled (causing a hoo-hah among a few local residents who complained that it spoiled their view - come on, there's already a motorway there for heck's sake!!) - don't think they would have been added if they weren't planning to keep this as a motorway.