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Monday, 18 July 2016

Motorway

The first motorway ever built in the world was opened between Milan and Varese in Italy on September 21, 1924. The highway, while divided, contained only one lane in each direction and no interchanges. It now forms parts of the A8 and A9 motorways.

Historical map of the original A8-A9 motorway, Italy. 
Nazi Germany autobahns were built in long straight stretches but experts concluded this could induce sleep in long drives when the idea was brought to the UK. Because of this all UK motorways have been built with gentle curves.

The eight-mile long Preston By-pass, Britain's first motorway was opened by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan on December 5, 1958. The road was originally built with two lanes in each direction, but with space in the central reservation for an extra lane to be added each way at a later date. It is now part of the M6.


The Preston By-pass had to temporarily close within weeks of opening due to frost damage

The first section of the M1 motorway, the first inter-urban motorway in the United Kingdom, was opened between the present junctions 5 and 18 on November 2, 1959.

Looking north at the M1 in July 1959, nearing completion. By Ben Brooksbank, Wikipedia 

On December 22, 1965, in a supposedly temporary measure, 70 mph became the top speed limit on all British motorways. The speed limit has remained to this day.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened the last segment of the M25 motorway in 1986. An orbital road encircling London, at 117 miles (188 km) it is Europe's second longest orbital road after the Berliner Ring, which is 122 miles (196 km).

The M25 motorway looking south between junctions 14 and 15, near Heathrow Airport.

The M62 is Britain’s only motorway which has a farm in its central reservation — Stott Hall Farm in the Pennines near Huddersfield. When the motorway was built in the Seventies, the tenant farmer refused to leave and the house was spared from the bulldozers. Instead, two tunnels were built under the road connecting the farm to its fields.

Modern homing pigeons find it more convenient to follow motorways and ring roads and turn left and right at junctions rather than using their in-built navigational abilities.

Source Daily Mail

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