M45 Dunchurch Spur

Where is it?

Near Rugby; across the Warwickshire - Northamptonshire border.

It meets the M1 at junction 17.

Can you show me that on a map?


What makes this a pathetic motorway?

It's quiet (by that I mean barely used - even at rush hour), as it's pretty much bypassed by the newfangled upstart motorway in the area - the M6.

There's also a stunning lack of signposting!

Anything else?

It's a leftover from the one earliest days of motorway building in Britain. When the M1 was first built, it went from the current junction 5 to the current junction 18. In a surprising moment of stunning intellect, the likes of which have never been seen since, the (then) Ministry of Transport suddenly worked out that they were building a wonderful three lane motorway which would zoom traffic towards (and away from) London. Unfortunely, there were no other motorways for it to connect to (save the Preston By-pass, some 130-odd miles away...) and so if you can imagine three lanes of fast traffic suddenly hitting the 1950s network and coming to a grinding halt at either end!

The answer - get as much traffic as possible off the motorway system before the end, hence the M45 (getting traffic off towards Coventry and Birmingham), and the M10 at the southern end.

Hey, that's quite clever!

If only the same thought was put into things today...

What's it like then?

Absolutely wonderful!

Apart from the barrier down the middle, and the 1990s addition of the middle junction to act as a by-pass of Dunchurch, the M45 is almost exactly the same as it was in 1959.

Driving down it gives you a great idea of what motorway travel in the 1950s and early 1960s was like.

And just to add a little bit of that authentic 1959 feel, Tom Sutch has got this wonderful shot of the M45 at its busiest...

Can I see some photographs?

Of course!

Can I see a video?

Yes, CBRD (www.cbrd.co.uk) has a speeded up QuickTime video available for viewing. It's eastbound, so the opposite direction to the Photo Gallery!

Can I comment on this motorway?

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

Have any other visitors commented?

Yes! Visit this page for comments on the M10 and M45.


Dunchurch Spur





8 miles

12.5 km





Map Links:

Might Have Been Map

Present Day Map

On other websites:

CBRD Motorway Database

CBRD Video

Rural Roads: M45

The Motorway Archive