Ritchie Swann with an implication of the existance of M96!
So I guess there's zero chance of an Aberdeen to Inverness motorway being built then?
Philip Lord on just how secretive this motorway is:
Can't comment about the motorway itself as I haven't seen it - but just to say it's surprising how effective a leylandii hedge can be. I go past it every other week (avoiding the motorway network between Malvern and Chelmsford) and knew nothing about it - though you can see the Fire College entranceway a little way to the east along the A44. BTW for those of you who might like to know - if you look at the aerial photograph - there is a little grass area mid-way on the opposite side of the A44 to the hedge at the end of the airfield runway which a favourite spot for a mobile radar speed unit. Be warned, drive carefully!
Tom Wilcox has seen the M96 before...
This secret Motorway has even featured in (at least 1) major TV programme - in early 2003 the BBC made a "docu-drama" called The Day Britain Stopped.
The motorway sequences were filmed on the M96, although the BBC credits it as "...the M91. Little more than a mile long, this eight-lane motorway was built at the Fire Service Training College in Gloucestershire..." it's here - most of the way down the interview with the Director.
I work about 500 yards down the road into Moreton from the Fire College and we have an arrangement with the college to use there sports facilities so I've been into the college a number of times and wandered around looking at the equipment. It maybe worth you mentioning that the site of the college used to be a Second World War Wellington bomber base and the 'motorway' used to be part of the runway system. It's obvious they're runways when you look at that aerial photo after all.
The motorway may not be on any regular published map, but it's on the Fire Service College's facilities map. There's even a handy cartoon of a pile-up to let you know what it's used for...
An anonymous contributor writes:
Just to let you know that there is a clearer aerial shot on windows live local.
If you look here you can make out quite some detail including line markings.
Peter Czigany finds a similar motorway:
In the January 2007 issue of hidden europe magazine, there is an excellent article on the M96 motorway. It seems that it is not unique, for the authors identify a similar stretch of fake motorway near Aachen in western Germany. But the article nonetheless gives an interesting perspective on England's quirkiest motorway.
Pete Langdale knows about something similar [Dec 07]:
I enjoyed seeing your section on the M96 at the Fire Service College. You might be interested to know that the Transport resaerch Laboraory (TRL) also operate a "motorway" stretch at their centre at Crowthorne. While it does not have any blue signage, it does have 3 lanes and a hard shoulder and other motorway features such as gantries and even an MS4 sign!
Tim Mayo comments [Oct 08]:
The most apt name for the purpose would have been M999 surely?