2023 New Year update

Published on 05 January 2023

Happy New Year! We're back, after a brief hiatus, with news of recent developments and exciting things to come.

2022 ended quietly here on Roads.org.uk, with a three-month break in new posts. Real life has an unfortunate habit of getting in the way where hobbies are concerned, and until we can find that elusive billionaire who will provide lavish funds for this website to become a full time job, it's hard to prioritise a website about roads when bigger things come knocking on the door.

We're never away for long, though - 21 years of regular updates will pay testament to that. And even when we're not here, things are still happening in the background to keep the site relevant and up to date.

A big project, finished

Here's a bit of good news for 2023. Back in February 2020, we announced some changes to the Motorway Database. Every route has a graphical exit list, showing the arrangement of every junction, the allocation of lanes and the text on road signs, among much else. The plan was to upgrade them with new graphics, so that they were bigger, clearer, fully up to date and supported zooming and resizing when viewed on mobile devices.

That's no small feat: the database contains about 1,600 individual graphics spread across 102 routes. Each one had to be individually checked for accuracy, redrawn from scratch and then fitted back in to the exit list.

Well, on November 10th, the last route got its update and the project was complete. The very last one, incidentally, was the A8(M), partly because it had the newest existing graphics... and partly because it had one of the most difficult junctions, Baillieston Interchange, and I kept putting it off.

A brand new exit list. There's never a dull moment on the M8
A brand new exit list. There's never a dull moment on the M8

Elsewhere on the site, we've added a key to exit lists, explaining how all those graphics work.

Still to come

We're hopeful that normal service will now resume. What does that mean? Well, in the coming weeks and months, we're hopeful that you'll see...

  • New blog posts, including a new addition to the Imperfectly Odd series and perhaps even another Out of London post. We're also hoping to take a closer look at the proposed Stonehenge Tunnel and the highway works that are ongoing to make way for HS2.
  • We haven't forgotten about the missing Ringways pages. Momentum has slowed now that all the previously-existing pages are rewritten and back online, but we're hopeful that 2023 is the year the remaining ones will finally see the light of day.
  • Now that the Motorway Database changes are done, we're also hoping to accelerate progress on refurbishing our Interchanges pages, which are currently a muddle of new and old.

All that is in the future, of course, but then the future is what a New Year is all about. Here's hoping the year ahead is kind to you, and that we'll have much more to share with you in the next twelve months.


Spencer j strangward 5 January 2023

Happy New year... cant wait for the new features in the pipe line.. Great work as always 👏 👍

Fraser Mitchell 8 January 2023

The enthusiast for road alterations related to HS2 will find a plethora of changes in and around the gap between Birmingham and Coventry where the new parkway-type station is to be built, plus the line has to thread its way around the M6 and M42 and other main roads near Coleshill. A bridge was rolled out over the M42 only a week ago, and another one has to be built over the same M42 further south. Here are the Plan and Profile maps of the line as finished. Just look at the OS maps to see how much is to be done.

The bridge on the M42 does not seem to be made to accomodate 3 lanes + hard shoulder. Ever since it opened the M42 has been considered not wide enough by many. Hence the ban on HGVs overtaking to make things move better. Anyone have thoughts?

I think it is wide enough. I looked carefully and there does seem room for the hard shoulder each side, plus a bit more. This is enough to widen the M42, either as ALR, or like the M5 from Birmingham, which was originally 2 lane, and widened to 3 many years ago. This is not ALR, there just isn't any hard shoulder at the bridges: -
Southbound approach to Yew Tree Lane overbridge, 3 lanes, hard shoulder present: -
At Yew Tree Lane bridge, 3 lanes but no hard shoulder: -
Of course we'll only know when the GSV camera van passes the new HS2 bridge !

John Randall 21 January 2023

Here's the question: is the M73 the only road in the Motorway Database where the whole mainline now has to shift over to the side, because one of its junctions is so lop-sided?

I believe so. That was also true of the original exit list, and I tried to find a way to avoid doing it on the new one but failed!

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