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
This is surely a preposterous state of affairs if I ever saw one, but check out the farm to the South, which effectively has its own motorway junction! Very swish.
This junction isn't particularly dangerous and it does the job of providing Newent with kind of motorway access that some large cities can only dream of (Plymouth, Norwich). But joining westbound I noticed one shocking feature. As you join there is a sign facing you saying "Dual carriageway" with a one way arrow. A dual carriageway is a different class of road to a motorway with different rules- speed limits for large vehicles or forbidden traffic. A learner seeing that sign could easily think it allows them to use the M50, a van driver could think his speed limit is 60 when it's 70.
"Dual carriageway" relates to its physical characteristics, to mean a carriageway in each direction. "Motorway" is a legal term to mean that certain vehicles are banned and other restrictions apply. In nearly all cases you get dual carriageway motorways, but single carriageway motorways also exist. The sign is not therefore wrong; however any instructor worth their salt should be teaching their learners of this important difference.
No one ever uses it? I use it for my commute everyday as do many other people. Unless I'm hallucinating other cars again...
Junction 2 is not much better, particularly the eastbound exit. And the sightlines at the top of the westbound slip are truly atrocious
If the interchange is still useful, the easy fix is to rebuild it into a Dumbbell Interchange.
Anybody who thinks this is bad has obviously never joined or left a German autobahn. Some of the bends on exits are so sharp you wonder if a scrap man designed them, and then bought a scrap yard nearby ! Of course these were OK when car speeds were a lot less, and many are from the 30s autobahn programme. Even so, you'd think they'd have sorted it out by now.,
Exits from Polish motorways onto very minor roads are similarly tight - all too often, you get no advanced warning of the bend other than a sharp drop in the speed limit, and if you're lucky, some chevrons on the verge.
This is actually quite a useful junction, providing a better route between Gloucester and Ross than the glorified country lane that has been classified A40. I agree that it's well below standard though. A few years ago a carload of us were coming back to Wales from a job in Gloucester, and I told the guy driving "watch out, this isn't like a normal motorway junction..." He still nearly rolled the car and kept cursing the junction until we stopped for petrol at Ross.
I've just done the northbound exit in the dark! I was slowing down as per any slip road, but had to jam by brakes on as I was suddenly confronted with a sharp corner sign that I wasn't expecting, and couldn't have seen from the motorway. My car actually stalled, and the steering lock came on! Rather terrifying to say the least. Coming onto the southbound junction earlier in the day wasn't much nicer, and I'd done that one before, yet you can't get any speed up because of the sharp curves before you come on. Horrible junction; especially as I only passed my test at the end of August!
Quite useful coming from the east for Hereford or Fownhope - otherwise it’s a dog leg round via the Ross spur roundabout and a halt at the junction with the B4224. Keep.
It's only 2 miles longer (but takes the same time) to carry on to the A449.
But that's not useful for getting to England's northwest ?
Maybe we need new entry points farther from the bridge, and some paintwork to make for longer deceleration lane.
Are you talking about coming off there and going to Hereford via Fownhope and Holme Lacy? Only some weird fetishist would consider that a useful route to Hereford from the east; J2/A417/A438 is a far simpler option!
If Openstreetmap's illustration is accurate then J3 / B4221 / B4224 to Hereford involves *zero* TOTSO along the way, unlike the A417 / A438 which has several around Ledbury. Of course following the big roads suits most people's basic instincts, but the J3 option is probably not as complicated as you suggest.
Not sure what you mean. I was only refering to the comment about getting to Fownhope. If you needed to get to the Northwest, you would go either A49 or M6.
The locals near M50 that is.
As someone pointed earlier it's useful if you live in, say, Newent. It's the closest motorway access point.
And I suppose if it does come up for reviews they could relocate the access point somewhat to allow longer acceleration/deceleration lanes on the east side.
B4221 is also straighter than A449, even if it's only a B road, and A449 isn't a motorway.
Well if I lived in Newent I'd either go B4215/A4172/A49 or if I wanted to get to the M5 I'd go through Staunton and get on at the A417 junction. However, it's been many years since I've been down that way, so I'm not sure how good those B roads and lanes are. It's the price you pay for living in a green and pleasant place I suppose.
Reading archive from Wayback it's easy to find a few commentators claiming that this junction is a better way to / from Hereford than either J2 or J4, which, IMHO, is rather more important than Newent. I wonder how many still do? (and why this page had lost these comments is also a mystery to me!)
I used to travel on this road daily between Newent and Ross on Wye and it’s fine. There are very few accidents and it’s a much better route than continuing on the B4221 his Crow Hill.
I don’t see what closing the junctions would achieve?
As stated above, junction 3 is also very useful for Hereford, as it’s a shorter route than the A49 or A417 and a lot quieter too.