have you seen?


Now a Guest Publication on BBC1's Have I Got News For You!

Most people don't stop to think about motorways. Ever.

Even though they've only been part of the landscape since December 1958 when the M6 Preston Bypass, Britain's first motorway, opened they seem to have been around forever. We have had a love-hate relationship with them from the early enthusiasm towards the future that they seemed to offer to the later hatred and negativity. Within Great Britain they're not even being built much any more - though in Ireland there's plenty of construction going on.

Yet when we want to travel any long distances to somewhere that's not next to an airport, or is poorly served by rail, then we all turn to the motorway, even though often they are full of delays and jams, so can be pretty unpleasant to use!

If people ever do think of a motorway, they think of miles upon miles of tarmac, of great long roads that go from one end of the country to another. This isn't always the case, which is where Pathetic Motorways comes in. Here we look at the shorter, more unusual motorways in a tongue-in-cheek manner; and also examine motorway history - in other words what is, what was, and what might have been all based around those blue lines on maps.

So, where now?


The shorter or more unusual motorways, where there's still a blue line on the map.


Over time, some motorways have lost their "blue line" status. So what's happened to them?


These motorways aren't obvious, and are generally completely unknown to the public at large. They have numbers of their own, but they're usually not shown on signs or maps...


Dip into history and look at motorways that never managed to see construction teams.


Lost motorways are those that have lost their original numbers, often as part of changing plans or as they become just a part of a larger whole.


Some motorways that are otherwise long and dull aren't actually the finished article. Head here to see what's missing...


In depth articles that examine particular aspects of motorway history and development, from 1920s plans and how the motorway numbers work to the famous Might Have Been Map.

What's new around here then?

The latest addition to Pathetic Motorways is:

  • Well, after a couple of years of life getting in the way, PM returns with the brand new Britain's Shortest Motorway: Scotland's A8(M).

Visit SABRE, and see other SABRE Member Sites at : www.sabre-roads.org.uk


pathetic (adj)

1. informal showing no skill, effort, or bravery
2. sad and weak

motorway (noun)

a long, wide road, usually used by traffic travelling fast over long distances


Last update:
26 October 2019
Some small updates to M49 to take account of the new junction under construction