M50 motorway (Great Britain)
The M50 is a 22-mile/35-km-long dual two-lane motorway in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire, England. It is sometimes referred to as the Ross Spur, connecting, as it does, the M5 motorway to a point close to the Herefordshire town of Ross-on-Wye, where it joins the A40 road continuing westward into Wales. The motorway was fully opened in 1962.
The M50, looking south-west from the Ryton Bridge towards Ross-on-Wye
|Length||21.6 mi (34.8 km)|
The M50 runs ENE-WSW between:
- junction 8 of the M5 motorway, 4 miles (6.4 km) NNE of Tewkesbury on the Gloucestershire-Worcestershire border; and
- a junction with the dualled A449 / A40 / A465 ("Heads of the Valleys Road") taking traffic on into South Wales.
Leaving the M5 at junction 8, it passes north of Tewkesbury then south of Ledbury. Between junctions 1 and 2 chiefly for these towns respectively, it crosses the River Severn on the Queenhill Bridge and Viaduct over the flood plain. After passing north of Newent, the motorway reaches its terminus, junction 4.
The construction works for the M50 were let under four contracts:
- Contract 1 was awarded to Tarmac Construction
- Contracts 2 and 3 were awarded to R M Douglas Construction
- Contract 4 was awarded to A E Farr Ltd
Both contracts were undertaken between 1958 and 1962:
On 3 March 1958, Harold Watkinson, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation fired a starting flare during the inauguration ceremony in Herefordshire to signal the start of construction of the M50. Junctions 1 to 4 opened in 1960 and the section between the M5 to junction 1 opened in 1962.
The route forms a strategic (that is, trunk or main) route from the Midlands and northern British Isles to South Wales (also including the A449 and A40 and so was constructed as an early priority.) It is one of the few British motorways not to have been widened, instead retaining its original layout of two lanes in each direction.
|M50 motorway junctions|
|mile||km||Eastbound exits (B carriageway)||Junction||Westbound exits (A carriageway)||Coordinates|
|0.0||0.0||The Midlands, Worcester, Birmingham, The South West, Tewkesbury, Bristol M5||M5, J8
|Start of motorway|
|1.7||2.8||Tewkesbury A38||J1||Malvern A38|
|10.9||17.5||Gloucester A417||J2||Forest of Dean A417|
|18.0||28.9||Newent B4221||J3||Newent B4221|
|21.6||34.7||Start of motorway||J4
|South Wales, Monmouth, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye A449|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
After both ends of the M50 are motorway service stations:
- Strensham services operated by RoadChef, north of the M50's northeastern terminus (unnamed, nominally 0) junction with junction 8 of the M5.
- Esso garage on the combined short section of the A449 road and A40 remains westbound.
Junction 0 (junction 8 of the M5) was originally a free-flowing trumpet-style junction, then converted to a roundabout with M5 flyover when the M5 was widened in the 1990s. Junction 1, where the M50 meets the A38, is a partial cloverleaf. Junction 2 has full slips roads from the deceleration lane into the slip roads save the kinked eastbound exit to local roads. Junction 3 consists of dual-carriageway-style 90° exits due to cost, low traffic volume and the style of road; however this has been the scene of various accidents.
- "Ross-on-Wye - M50 Motorway". Ross-on-Wye.com & TheVista.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- "The Motorway Archive – M50 dates page". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Motorway Database » M50". CBRD. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "The Motorway Archive – M50 Scheme Page". Iht.org. 3 March 1958. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
- Good Stuff IT Services. "Ross Spur Services M50 | Information and Facilities | Motorway Services". Motorwayservices.info. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Major Roads of Great Britain Narrative description of the route
- "The Motorway Archive – M5 Widening". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.