A46(M) Leicester Spur

Where's this one?

It's at M1 J21 - the main access to Leicester from the M1.

Can you show me where it is on a map?


I can see the M69, and I can see the A5460 - where's the A46(M)?

Yes, it's now part of the A5460.

Oh, I see.

Yes, this was a tiny link road built along with the M1 to allow access to the A46 and Leicester.

Even today, it's pretty much the only sensible way into Leicester from the motorway network, and as such, it's horribly overloaded.

So, why was it given its own number?

I have absolutely no idea!

Oddly enough, it's pretty much exactly the same length as the spur further down the M1 at junction 10, near Luton, and that was considered too short to have its own number.

Have you got a map showing the original number?


How about some photos?

Go on then!

Can I comment on this motorway?

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

Have any other visitors commented?

Andy Kelly has some memories:

I remember this road from the 70s/80s (before the re-build) When going to the south west on holiday, this road was part of the route and I can clearly remember the hard shoulder as there always used to be trucks parked up on it!!!

Phil Reynolds:

Ah, the A46(M) - as it is now, the one thing that seems to challenge the claim that "since it leads to a motorway, it must be a motorway".

I have not had time to investigate the area fully, but have, especially seeing some of the pathetic motorways on here, wondered why it is not a motorway, when it leads to a roundabout where everything else is. Especially beyond the junction with lights, it makes no sense unless there is a need for non-motorway traffic to make the return trip in order to access another road.

So, unless that applies, why isn't at least some part of this still a motorway?

It would probably need its own number if it was, unless it was just made a direct extension of the M69. So, A46(M) - the motorway that has no obvious reason to be former.

An anonymous contributor:

I believe the road was renumbered when the outer ring road was constructed. The ensuing junction meant there was access to non motorway traffic, whereas before the only need to use the road was to access the M1 or M69.

Sirion Leggate dredges up a few memories:

I travelled on the A46(M) many times in the 60s by United Counties coach to London and back when I was a student (although I can't remember it actually being signed as such on the motorway itself but it probably was).

Besides the previously noted lorries parked on the hard shoulder there was always an ample supply of hitch-hikers illegally walking along to the main roundabout to thumb a lift at the bottom of the appropriate slip road. Some years later I seem to remember that the road was downgraded before the construction of the outer ring road because I remember at the time naively thinking that the authorities had decided to be benevolent to the hitchkers and alow them up to the roundabout!

The 1982 OS route planning map seems to show the road from the M1 in "ordinary" red joining the dual carriageway A46 with no sign of the new ring road although the small scale makes it difficult to be absolutely certain; I wish I had kept more of my old maps!

Roger Hartopp solves the queries!

Actually, I remember quite clearly when the motorway was downgraded, and it was well before the outer ring road. That fateful day was when the new M69 opened - so it was some time ago! Since the old existing A46 had to be 'detrunked', it was then decided to detrunk the A46(M) to ensure that A46 drivers would continue to follow the A46 and be effortlessly led onto the M69 to Coventry...
As a result, the rules concerning the hard shoulders changed and as a consequence were used as parking lanes for heavies and fry-ups!


Leicester Spur




900 yards

800 m





Map Links:

Might Have Been Map

Present Day Map