All over Britain, motorways which have been abandoned, unfinished or built incorrectly are dotted between the cities. Usually hidden from view, these strange sections of land take the form of stretches of empty road, forgotten junctions or ramp stubs – sometimes called ghost ramps – suspended in mid-air.
(Images: Motorwayservicesonline.co.uk, reproduced with permission)
In Yorkshire, the former A18(M) Tudworth Link has been abandoned since 1979. Around half of it was turned into the M180, with the eastbound carriageway in use as an exit sliproad from Junction 1. The westbound carriageway has been left defunct, with grass and plants cracking through the concrete and rusting signposts still standing at various points along the road.
(Images: Atraxus, public domain)
Thurmaston Lane in Leicester was in use until the 1970s when a new bypass across the north of the city rendered it obsolete. The abandoned road still exists, although it’s now gated off and overgrown.
Occasionally, building works have to be halted due to budget cuts or when it becomes apparent the proposed road is unfeasible. When this happens, motorways may simply be converted, although sometimes roads can simply appear to stop in mid-space. If there’s no need to demolish them straight away, they are usually left, gated-off and forgotten about. This has happened on the A57 motorway in Manchester (known as the Mancunian Way), where an unfinished slip road hangs in mid-air due to incorrect construction. In Glasgow, the M8 has several ramp stubs (locally nicknamed “the ski ramp”) which were originally built as an interchange for the southern flank of the Inner Ring Road.
Many motorways that went through early planning stages have been abandoned, leaving roads that lead nowhere across the country. Britain’s roadways might look very different today if the original plans had gone ahead.