M50 - B4221

Linton Interchange

Where is it?

M50 junction 3, the point where the M50, an inconsequential motorway carrying very little traffic comes across an even less important B-road, and for no apparent reason interchanges with it.

What's wrong with it?

Quite aside from the fact that there's really no need for it to be there, it's shockingly below standard for a motorway. There are no sliproads or deceleration lanes to speak of, simply very very tight bends which end abruptly a few feet from the motorway at Give Way signs. There isn't even any traffic island between the entry and exit points — just a painted triangle on the carriageway. And to verify that this junction truly is abysmal, the signs on the M50 in advance of the junction aren't the normal fork ones but instead show the exit leaving at 90 degrees from the motorway — which it does!

Why is it wrong?

The M50 is in the top 5 of earliest motorways to open, though it's a complete mystery why as even today it's barely used. There's even less reason, then, for a junction with the B4221, and so it's quite fitting that the junction that is there is barely more than a gap in the motorway's boundary fence. Experimental 1960s design standards — similar to some of the junctions on the M2 before the recent upgrades — are largely to blame here.

What would be better?

Just close it off — there's no need for a junction anyway! This wouldn't take much effort at all, just wipe off the exit markings, draw a hard shoulder line across and grass over the space between the motorway and the B4221.


Right to reply

Anonymous 6 August 2019

M50 J3 is a useful junction but the bends are awful! It needs to be fixed!

Anonymous 16 August 2019

This junction is useful but way out of date. It should have been fixed long ago. Maybe they should fix this junction with a dumbbell but because of the way the B4221 comes in from the west it will be hard work. However, it will probably stay this way forever as Highways England doesn't really care about it too much

Martin 18 August 2019

Growing up in Gloucester in the 70s, an upgrade to the B4215/B4221 to the M50 was mooted as a replacement for the very twisty A40 between Gloucester and Ross. Had that happened, it would no doubt have had to include an upgrade to that junction. We used to use it when going on family holidays to Pembrokeshire and it certainly felt strange using a T-junction to join the motorway!

Allan Williams 21 September 2020

It was a Google search for this junction that let me to this site many years ago. I drove past the junction last weekend and noticed that there are some new signs that replace the old "T Junction" ones with something that makes a pretty good job of showing how tight and unusual this slip road is. I wonder if there is room in Bad Junctions for it's sibling, Clay Mills, to the north of Burton upon Trent? Exiting the A38 when travelling North presents the unprepared driver with an amazingly acute hairpin bend, like something from a Tour de France mountain stage. Tire marks and the fact that the barrier is always shiny show that it catches many people out. Then, just as you recover from the bend there is a local road junction to the right, still on the slip road and next a confusing give way junction, where you have to let fast moving southbound traffic speed by before you can make your own way into the town. It too has had improved signage recently but they just don't reflect how tight that bend is.

Clay Mills- now THAT'S an hairpin! But, apart from the points you mention; as you arrive at the give way line, a sign has two arrows, one for A5121 Burton and the other for A38 Lichfield (but both point right). This is only true for the A38 (which for some reason is in brackets)? Also as you come up the S/B off-slip, the first B'ham/Lichfield A38 sign points right, when in actual fact it's straight over to join the A38 as the second sign correctly states. Right is for heading north, not south. I know this will only really affect the people leaving from the (few) houses by the sliproad there, as the other traffic is either going left to Burton or right to the local road on the N/B off/on slip. Also, considering that the reason you have to give way is only for people from those buildings by the slip who are returning home, it does seem odd that the traffic coming off the A38 Northbound and the local road don't have priority on it's way to the A5121.

While I understand that nobody would have the leisure to take a picture while driving on a motorway, I am highly interested in how "a pretty good job of showing how tight and unusual this slip road is" the new signs are, as I cannot find any reference to the sign replacement.

When all this lockdown malarkey is over I'll see what my partner in crime (aka my son) and I can achieve. Most likely I'll drive and he'll take the photos.

Philip 1 May 2022

Having just rediscovered SABRE and the revamped CBRD, I found myself here! I just wanted to make a passing comment that I too have used this junction and it was awful, but I see the from links above there are now at least extended slip lanes with plenty of 'Slow' markings on them. I also wanted too mention that as an early motorway design standards weren't what they are now (come over here to France and you'll see that this junction is pure luxury compared to French ones!), and that the reason the motorway is there, was to provide a rapid link between the industrial areas of Birmingham and the S. Wales ports. Containerisation put paid to the need of the link for goods traffic and in any case, the M50 stopped at Ross-on-Wye and led onto a simple two-lane road onwards to Newport. The A449 dualled section wasn't built until years later (1980s ?). Even when the A449 was dualled its termination with the M4 was - well - hair-raising with a long continuous down grade and a very tight bend into the Catshill interchange. It has been 'improved' over the years.

John Randall 26 May 2022

In the last 2 years, Google have changed their route planning algorithm so that it strongly now recommends that all traffic between Ross and Gloucester uses M50 J3, instead of following the A40. This may be as a result of the roads being quieter during the pandemic. It will be interesting to see whether this has a measurable impact on M50 J3.

Rowan 12 February 2024

I would love to hear from any of the surviving engineers involved in planning and construction, as we did regarding the constraints on the Eccles interchange (octopus M62 M602, M63(rip) M60).

Did it have a similar beginning as M6 J34, an access point for maintenance or emergency services which then became a junction for a nearby town? There certainly seems to be plenty of works and emergency service access points to this sort of layout differing only in lack of hard shoulder markings and the presence of gates.

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