One of the motorway network's most glaring missing links is filled by the A34, an expressway from Winchester to Oxford that links the docks at Southampton to the Midlands and the North.
The A34 is the local kid made good, a short road that went on to very great things indeed. Its greatness is a little diminished today, with long lengths replaced by the M40 and M6, but it's still a critically important road for freight traffic.
It started life in 1922 as the road from Winchester to Oxford, and that was that - but in a numbering review in 1934, was the unlikely choice to form a new major route from the south coast to industrial Lancashire. It was extended north from Oxford all the way to Salford via Birmingham, Stoke and Manchester. It still goes all the way to Salford today.
The arrival of the motorway age has seen much of it replaced, so while you could still stubbornly choose to follow the A34 right up to Salford, you'd have a much easier time taking the M40, M42 and M6. The road is still there, except for a gap created parallel to the M40.
The southern section - which, as it happens, is the original bit - is still performing its time-honoured function, linking Winchester to Oxford and providing the first part of that route from the south coast to the north. Today that part is a fast inter-city highway, touching on motorway standard in places, all vastly upgraded over the years, and that's the part described in the Motorway Database.
The final major upgrades to this expressway happened relatively recently, with the opening of the highly controversial Newbury Bypass in the 1990s, and then in the 2000s the upgrades to the M4 interchange that let the A34 pass through non-stop. Those works have effectively completed the route, creating a free-flowing dual carriageway from the M3 to the M40.
That's not to say that it's all sunshine and happiness on the A34 - in fact the cracks are beginning to show. The road is only two lanes each way for its entire length, which are often inadequate, especially around Oxford where it doubles up as the city's outer ring road. And at each end it still smashes headlong into a roundabout where it terminates on the motorway. But all things considered, there are worse ways to travel between Oxford and Winchester.
You're not looking at the whole A34
This page is about the parts of the A34 that are designated a motorway or that have motorway characteristics. Other sections of this road will not be featured here and will not count towards the length of the road as shown below.