The M25 or LONDON ORBITAL MOTORWAY is a 117-mile (188 km) motorway
that encircles almost all of Greater
It is one of the busiest of the British motorway network : 196,000 vehicles were recorded on a busy day near Heathrow Airport in 2003 and the western half experienced an average daily flow of 147,000 vehicles in 2007.
The M25, plus the short non-motorway A282 which joins the two ends of the M25 across the River Thames using the Dartford Crossing , is Europe's second longest orbital road after the Berliner Ring , which is 122 miles (196 km).
* 1 Description
* 2 History
* 2.1 Plans * 2.2 Construction * 2.3 Operational history * 2.4 Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract
* 3 Developments recently constructed
* 3.1 Junction 30 improvement
* 3.1.1 Project Timeline
* 4 Conditional proposals
* 4.1 Lower Thames Crossing
* 5 Comparisons * 6 Popular culture * 7 Racing * 8 Junctions * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links
Carriageway widths of the M25 November 2009 The M25 and Heathrow Airport
Originally built almost wholly as a dual three-lane motorway, much of the motorway has been widened: to dual four lanes for almost half, to a dual five-lanes section between junctions 12 and 14 and a dual six-lane section between junctions 14 and 15. Further widening is in progress of minor sections with plans for managed motorways in many others.
To the east of
At Junction 5, the clockwise carriageway of the M25 is routed off the main north–south dual carriageway onto the main east–west dual carriageway with the main north–south carriageway becoming the A21 . In the opposite direction, to the east of the point where the M25 diverges from the main east–west carriageway, that carriageway become the M26 motorway .
The radial distance from
Two motorway service areas are on the M25, and two others are directly accessible from it. Those on the M25 are Clacket Lane between junctions 5 and 6 (in the south-east) and Cobham between junctions 9 and 10 (in the south-west). Those directly accessible from it are South Mimms off junction 23 (to the north of London) and Thurrock off junction 31 (to the east of London). Cobham services opened on 13 September 2012.
Originally, the M25 was unlit except for sections around Heathrow, major interchanges and Junctions 23–30. Originally, low pressure sodium (SOX) lighting was the most prominent technology used, but widening projects from the 1990s onwards have all used high-pressure sodium (SON) lighting and this has diminished the original installations. By 2014 only one significant stretch was still SOX-lit (Junction 25–26) and the units were removed the same year.
The motorway passes through five counties. Junctions 1A–5 are in Kent , 6–14 are in Surrey , 15–16 are in Buckinghamshire , 17–25 are in Hertfordshire , and 26–31 are in Essex . Policing of the road is carried out by an integrated policing group made up of the Metropolitan , Thames Valley , Essex , Kent , Hertfordshire and Surrey forces.
Map of Ringways 3 "> View north from Higher Denham Fire Station at Tatling End on the A40 in July 1984, with the Chiltern Main Line five-arch 1906 Chalfont Viaduct , originally built to straddle the River Misbourne View east at the Chandler\'s Cross Interchange in December 2005 of the former A405 from this junction (19) to the Maple Cross Interchange (17)
Construction of parts of the two outer ring roads, Ringways 3 and 4 ,
began in 1973. The first section, between
South Mimms and Potters Bar
Hertfordshire (junction 23 to junction 24) opened in September 1975
and was given the temporary general purpose road designation A1178 (a
section of motorway-standard-road, originally the M16, which
eventually was incorporated into the M25) was completed and
operational before this. A Watford-avoiding route between the M1 and
the A40 between north
Watford and Denham was locally known as the
Rickmansworth bypass, and was operational about 1973/4;
a section south of
The section from
Potters Bar to the
Dartford Tunnel was constructed
between 1979 and 1982. Construction of the M25 continued in stages
until its completion in 1986.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
officially opened the M25 on 29 October 1986, with a ceremony in the
section between J22 and J23 (
The M4/ M25 motorway junction, near Heathrow Airport The M25 between junction 24 (A111 , Potters Bar ) and 25 (A10 , Waltham Cross "> The M25 between junctions 7 (M23 ) and 6 (A22 ) near Redhill , Surrey . The signs are indicating an advisory reduced speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) due to congestion.
In 1995 there was a proposal to widen the section close to Heathrow Airport to fourteen lanes. This attracted fierce opposition from road protesters opposing the Newbury Bypass and other schemes and it was cancelled shortly afterwards. In 1997, however, the Department of Transport announced new proposals to widen the section between Junction 12 (M3) and Junction 15 (M4) to twelve lanes. At the Terminal Five public inquiry a Highways Agency official said that the widening was needed to accommodate traffic to the proposed new terminal, however the transport minister said that no such evidence had been given. Environmental groups objected to the decision to go ahead with a scheme that would create the widest motorways in the UK without holding a public inquiry . The decision was again deferred. A decision to go-ahead was given for a ten-lane scheme in 1998 and the £148 million 'M25 Jct 12 to 15 Widening' contract was awarded to Balfour Beatty in 2003. The scheme was completed in 2005 as dual-five lanes between Junctions 12 and 14 and dual-six lanes from Junctions 14 to 15. The M25 motorway looking south between junctions 14 and 15, near Heathrow Airport . The red light from the overhead gantry, just visible in the distance, is the MIDAS system indicating a reduced speed limit due to congestion.
In 2007 capacity at Junction 25 (A10/Waltham Cross) was increased and the Holmesdale Tunnel was widened to three lanes in an easterly direction at a cost of £75 million.
Work to widen the exit slip-roads in both directions at Junction 28 (A12 road /A1023) was completed in 2008. It was designed to reduce the amount of traffic queueing on the slip roads at busy periods, particularly traffic from the clockwise M25 joining the northbound A12 where the queue extended onto the inside lane of the Motorway.
DESIGN, BUILD, FINANCE AND OPERATE (DBFO) CONTRACT
In 2006 the Highways Agency proposed to widen 63 miles (101 km) of M25 from six to eight lanes, between junctions 5–6 and 16–30 as part of a Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) project. A shortlist of contractors was announced in October 2006 for the project which was expected to cost £4.5 billion. Contractors were asked to resubmit their bids in January 2008 and in June 2009 the new transport minister indicated that the cost had risen to £5.5 billion and the benefit to cost ratio had dropped considerably. In January 2009 the government announced that plans to widen the sections from Junction 5–7 and from 23–27 had been 'scrapped' and that hard shoulder running would be introduced instead. However widening was reinstated to four lanes in the 2013–14 Highways Agency Business Plan.
In 2009 a £6.2 billion M25 DBFO private finance initiative contract was awarded to Connect Plus to widen the sections between junctions 16 and 23 and between junctions 27 and 30 and maintain the M25 and the Dartford Crossing for a 30-year period. A control room for the M25 J5-7 Smart Motorways scheme, 2014.
Works to widen the section between Junctions 16 (M40) and 23 (A1(M)) to dual four lanes started in July 2009 at an estimated cost of £580 million. The Junction 16 to 21 (M1) section was completed by July 2011 and the Junction 21 to 23 by June 2012. Works to widen the Junctions 27 (M11) to 30 (A13) section to dual four lanes also started in July 2009. The Junction 27 to 28 (A12) section was completed in July 2010, the Junction 28 to 29 (A127) in June 2011 and finally the Junction 29 to 30 (A13) section opened in May 2012.
Works to introduce managed motorway technology and permanent hard shoulder running on two sections of the M25 began in 2013. The first section between Junctions 5 (A21/M26) and 7 (M23) started construction in May 2013 with the scheme being completed and opened in April 2014. The second section, between Junctions 23 (A1/A1(M)) and 27 (M11), began construction in February 2013 and was completed and opened in November 2014.
DEVELOPMENTS RECENTLY CONSTRUCTED
JUNCTION 30 IMPROVEMENT
Inside the Bell Common Tunnel near Epping
The improved junction is said to facilitate billions of pounds of investment in the region, making journeys more reliable and improving safety. In addition, the A13 through the junction has been widened to four lanes in each direction with speed limits capped to 50 mph. New dedicated link roads created and existing slip roads improved to facilitate east bound migration to the Regional Shopping Centre (Lakeside). Drainage, safety barriers and lighting on the M25 have also been upgraded as part of the improvements around Junction 30 and 31 including new electronic gantry signage.
August 2014 to December 2014 Advance scheme work
December 2014 Award of design and build contract
Late February 2015 Start of works on A13
November 2015 Start of works on M25
December 2016 Completion of works
LOWER THAMES CROSSING
Main article: Lower Thames Crossing
The M25 is the second-longest ring road in Europe, after the Berlin Ring (A 10 ), which is 5 miles (8.0 km) longer.
Other cities in the UK encircled by motorways include: Birmingham , using parts of the M5 , M6 and M42 , and Manchester , using the M60 . Additionally, from 2011 Glasgow has an orbital motorway made of the M8 , M73 and M74 , although one section of the route passes through the centre of the city.
The M25 is one of the busiest motorways in Europe. Here are some comparisons:
Saint Petersburg Ring Road : more than 150,000 vehicles on an
Grande Raccordo Anulare (Rome): more than 160,000 vehicles on an
* M25 around London: Average daily traffic of 263,000 vehicles a day
recorded in 2014 between junctions 14 and 15 near
The multi-level stack interchange junction with the M23, viewed from a nearby footbridge to the west
The M25 (including the A282
Dartford Crossing ) is known for its
frequent traffic jams. These have been the subject of so much comment
from such an early stage that even at the official opening ceremony
Margaret Thatcher complained about "those who carp and criticise". The
jams have inspired jokes (e.g., "the world's first circular car park",
The M25 plays a role in the comedy-fantasy novel _ Good Omens _, as "evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man". The demon character, Crowley, had manipulated the design of the M25 to resemble a Satanic sigil .
The M25 enjoyed a more positive reputation among ravers in the late 1980s, when this new orbital motorway became a popular route to the parties that took place around the outskirts of London. This use of the M25 for these raves inspired the name of electronic duo Orbital .
The orbital nature of the motorway, in common with racetracks , lent itself to unofficial, and illegal, motor racing . At the end of the 1980s, before the advent of speed enforcement devices, owners of supercars , many employed in the financial service industry in the City and in Docklands , would meet at night at service stations such as South Mimms and conduct time trials. Times below 1 hour were achieved - an average speed of over 117 mph (188 km/h), which included coming to a halt at the Dartford Tunnel road user charge payment booths.
Data from driver location signs provide carriageway identifier information. The numbers on the signs are kilometres from a point near the River Thames, east of London, when travelling clockwise on the motorway. The table below gives details of each junction, including the roads interchanged and the destinations that are signed from the motorway on the blue advance direction signs. Figures in kilometres are from the driver location signs; figures in miles are derived from them.
A282 road – Dartford Crossing
MILES KM CLOCKWISE EXITS (A CARRIAGEWAY) JUNCTION ANTI-CLOCKWISE EXITS (B CARRIAGEWAY) EUROPEAN ROUTE
Slough , Reading ,
* Incomplete access
* ^ _A_ _B_ "
Motorway traffic up 4% on 2003".
BBC News . 12 August
2004. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
* ^ Office for National Statistics Social Trends - Transport p197
* ^ _A_ _B_ Business Plan 2013-14 Highways Agency
* ^ _A_ _B_ "M25 in South East Region". The
Motorway Archive. 2009.
(Select "M25" from list of motorways, then "M25 interchanges, tunnels
and bridges"). Retrieved 18 April 2013.
* ^ Grid reference Finder Generic map measurement tools
* ^ This move would be bound to be resisted by the communities
affected, including such major towns as Watford,
Loughton and Epsom.