M275 Portsmouth Spur

Where is it?

Portsmouth, Hampshire

It meets the M27 at junction 12.

Can you show me that on a map?


What makes this a pathetic motorway?

Well, it's short, and unless you're headed for Portsmouth you'll go straight by.

That doesn't seem to make it very bad then.

Just wait and see...

OK, tell me about it!

The M275 doesn't really start on the M27 at the northern end, as it appears to from most maps.

It really starts here, on the northern spur from M27 J12. In fact, the eastern end of the M27 is also co-incident with the start of the M275. Unusually in both locations, an M27/M275 signpost can be seen.

What's the rest like?

It has to be said that it is one of the most scenic short motorways. It passes on a bridge over Portsmouth Harbour: most pleasant on a sunny summer day. I rather suspect that on a grey, rainy February it may look a little different!

Sounds quite dull, really.

Not quite - there's a couple of fun things.

Firstly, there's a traffic light controlled T-junction on the sliproad heading out of the city at the southern end...


Yes, that's right. It's kind of hard to describe what's going on - but basically there's a direct exit out from the port, crossing a normal road at a set of traffic lights (with a marked pedestrian crossing and footpath!) and then immediately afterwards joining the sliproad just before it joins the motorway.

The motorway restrictions start inside the port, but I can't prove it - there's no photography allowed there. Basically, you're separated from the non-motorway traffic by a white line...

That's pretty rubbish, isn't it. You mentioned "a couple of things", though.

Yes. Halfway along the motorway, there's a half-finished junction underneath, complete with pedestrian underpasses and the like...

Fantastic stuff! Can I see some photographs of it all?

Of course!

Can I comment on this motorway?

Of course! Contact me and I'll put them here!

Have any other visitors commented?

Comments before December 2007 can be found in the relevant archive.

Sib has some very illuminating words: [Dec 07]:

Reading some of the comments about the M275 brings back some memories, I was an engineer working for the contractors on this motorway.

I would like to give some explanations about some of the things. Firstly the standards, Marples Ridgeway, the main contractor for the M27 / M275 and Laings the contractor for the next westerly section had problems, they had been awarded the contracts against expectations. Marples had expected to get and had got the contract for the M56, they did not expect the M27 / M275, so had to split their experienced motorway team between two sites and similarly with Liangs, I think they got part of the M20 and again did not expect to get the M27.

Liangs had the greater problem, this was all taking place in the 70's and the cost of oil had just gone through the roof, petrol from 5 bob a gallon to 30 pence a litre. Laings solution was to purchase a concrete train from Germany and train a crew in its use, but then they got 2 contracts and had to split the trained crew across 2 concrete trains. I believe they never got paid for the concrete. It always failed the "yellow submarine" test.
(It has now 2006 been tarmaced over.)

Marples were slightly luckier, they were in partnership with Amey Roadstone who were tarmacers so we got our section done in tarmac.

The junction that never was and still isn't. There were / still are plans to revamp this entrance to Portsmouth and build an Ikea on the land to the east, turn Tipner Lake into a boating lake and generally beautify the area. So far all we got is some old scrap iron in the central meridian, meant to be sails, some more scrap on stilts in Tipner Lake and strange blue lights on Tipner Bridge.

I was not the Engineer for Tipner Bridge but was quite friendly with the guy that was. The beam fell off because one of the crane strops lifting the beams in place caught on the newly placed beam as the crane was winching up. The beam and a workman sitting on it rolled off its supports and fell into the harbour. My Engineer colloegue dived of the bridge into the water, some 30 or 40 feet, to try and rescue the workman but was unable to find him.

As stated correctly the Resident Engineers for the M275 were Portsmouth City Council, not the South Eastern Road Construction unit. Portsmouth had been having a long a bitter fight with the Pound family, the person that owned the recycling yard. (Most of the ships ending up there were either sold on to other governments or stripped of all non ferrous metal the the hull sold to be used as target practice.) Basically Portsmouth had moved Mr Pound scrap business from one area to another and now were building a motorway straight through his latest area. (The A3(M) also affected the family by taking half his garden for a slip road.) So Mr Pound was not very co-operative with Portsmouth City Council, indeed his ships used to frequently come adrift and damage Marples works, it appeared to happen more often when it was found that Marples could claim against Portsmouth for the disruption and the cost of putting the damage right (daywork rates a Contractors greatest friend). The major example being a frigate that came loose and, drifting against the incoming tide, demolished a newly constructed pipe bridge across the span. The pipe bridge or scaffold bridge allowed people to walk across the gap and not have to drive right the way round.

Latterly, 2007, a lot of the anomalies at the south end of the M275 have been corrected and are nearly up to standard.

They have even corrected the road markings at the northerly split so that traffic going west does not have priority causing traffic going east to cross to the right hand side of the road to feed off a slip road on the right hand side of the road.


Portsmouth Spur




2.5 miles

4 km





Map Links:

Might Have Been Map

Present Day Map

On other websites:

CBRD Motorway Database

The Motorway Archive