The Info List - M25 Motorway

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The M25 or LONDON ORBITAL MOTORWAY is a 117-mile (188 km) motorway that encircles almost all of Greater London
, England (with the exception of North Ockendon ), in the United Kingdom. An ambitious concept to build four concentric ring roads around London
was first mooted in the 1960s. A few sections of the outer two rings were constructed in the early 1970s, but the plan was abandoned and the sections were later integrated to form a single ring which became the M25, finally completed in 1986.

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 London
the two ends of the M25 are joined to complete a loop by the non-motorway A282 Dartford Crossing of the River Thames between Thurrock and Dartford . This crossing, which consists of twin two-lane tunnels and the four-lane QE2 (Queen Elizabeth II) bridge , is named _ Canterbury Way_. Passage across the bridge or through the tunnels is subject to a toll , its level depending on the kind of vehicle. This stretch being non-motorway allows traffic, including that not permitted to use motorways, to cross the River Thames east of the Woolwich Ferry ; the only crossing further to the east is a passenger ferry between Gravesend , in Kent , and Tilbury , in Essex .

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 London
(taken as Charing Cross ) varies from 12.5 miles (20.1 km) in Potters Bar to 19.5 miles (31.4 km) in Byfleet . Three Greater London
boroughs (Enfield, Hillingdon and Havering) have realigned their boundaries to the M25 for minor stretches; while in others, most notably in Essex and Surrey, the radial gap between Greater London
and the motorway reaches 7.8 miles (12.6 km), neither of which coincide with the Metropolitan Green Belt . Major towns listed as destinations (right), in various counties, adjoin the M25. North Ockendon is the only settlement of Greater London
situated outside the M25. In 2004, following an opinion poll, the London Assembly mooted for consultation alignment of the Greater London boundary with the M25. "Inside the M25" and "outside/beyond the M25" are colloquial, looser alternatives to "Greater London" sometimes used in haulage. The Communications Act 2003 explicitly uses the M25 as the boundary in requiring a proportion of television programmes to be made outside the London

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.

The M25 is one of Europe's busiest motorways. In 2003, a maximum of 196,000 vehicles a day were recorded on the motorway just south of London
Heathrow Airport between junctions 13 and 14.



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 in 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 Croxley Green/ Rickmansworth bypass, and was operational about 1973/4; a section south of London
(junction 6 to junction 8) opened in 1976. A section of Ringway 3 south of the river between Dartford and Swanley (junction 1 to junction 3) was constructed between 1974 and 1977. In 1975 the plans for Ringway 3 were modified to combine it with Ringway 4, the outermost Ringway. The M25 as a component of ringway 4, was first conceived to be an east-west road south of London
to relieve the A25 , and running parallel to it, with its eastern end following the route of what is now the M26 . However, it was subsequently routed northwards towards the Dartford Tunnel to form, in conjunction with similar roads, including the M16 planned to the north of London, part of the London
Orbital. The combined motorway was given the designation M25 which had originally been intended for the southern and western part of Ringway 4 and the M16 designation was dropped. The section of Ringway 3 west of South Mimms anti-clockwise around London to Swanley in Kent was cancelled. The stages were not constructed contiguously but in small sections. As the orbital road developed the sections were linked. Each section was presented to planning authorities in its own right and was individually justified, with almost 40 public inquiries relating to sections of the route. Maps at this time depicting these short sections named the route as the M16 but this changed before completion.

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 ( London
Colney and South Mimms ). The initial tenders for the construction of the M25 totalled £631.9 million. This did not include compulsory purchase of land and subsequent upgrades and repairs.


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.


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.



Inside the Bell Common Tunnel near Epping

In December 2016 Highways England completed the capacity project at Junction 30 (Thurrock) as part of the Thames Gateway Delivery Plan.

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.

Project Timeline

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



Main article: Lower Thames Crossing

In 2009 the Department for Transport published options for a new Lower Thames Crossing to add capacity to the Dartford Crossing or create a new road and crossing linking to the M2 and M20 motorways.


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 average day. * Grande Raccordo Anulare (Rome): more than 160,000 vehicles on an average day * M25 around London: Average daily traffic of 263,000 vehicles a day recorded in 2014 between junctions 14 and 15 near London
Heathrow Airport . * A23 (Vienna): more than 200,000 vehicles on an average day. * A 100 (Berlin): 216,000 vehicles in a day was recorded in 1998 * Rotterdam Ring Road: 227,000 vehicles a day, in 8 years 280,000 a day by the Van Brienenoordbrug * Moscow Ring Road : more than 250,000 vehicles on an average day. * A4 motorway (near Paris): 257,000 vehicles a day recorded in 2002.


The multi-level stack interchange junction with the M23, viewed from a nearby footbridge to the west

Iain Sinclair 's 2002 book and film _ London
Orbital_ is based on a year-long journey around the M25 on foot.

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 London
Orbital Car Park") and songs (e.g., Chris Rea 's "The Road to Hell ").

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 .


M25 at junction 30 near Purfleet , Essex

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


Dartford Crossing South Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (Toll) River Thames Dartford Crossing North Dartford Tunnels (Toll) European route E15

3.5 5.7 Erith A206 J1A Erith A206, Swanscombe (A226 ) European route E15

4.7 7.5 Dartford A225 J1B Exit via J2 – Dartford (A225 ) European route E15

M25 motorway London

5.5 8.8 London
(SE & C), Bexleyheath A2 (W), Canterbury (M2) A2 (E) Ebbsfleet International J2 London
(SE & C), Bexleyheath A2 , Canterbury (M2 ), Dartford (A225) Ebbsfleet International , Bluewater European route E15

8.7 14.0 London
(SE & C) A20 Maidstone , Channel Tunnel , Folkestone M20 Swanley B2173 European route E15 J3 Maidstone , Channel Tunnel M20 London
(SE & C), Lewisham A20

12.2 19.6 Bromley A21 Orpington A224 J4 Bromley, London
(SE & C) A21 Orpington (A224) Hayes

16.3 16.4 26.2 26.4 Sevenoaks , Royal Tunbridge Wells , Hastings A21 J5 Maidstone, Channel Tunnel, Dover M26 (M20) Sevenoaks, Hastings A21

21.0 33.8 Clacket Lane services Services Clacket Lane services

25.8 41.6 East Grinstead , Eastbourne , Caterham , Godstone A22 Redhill , Westerham (A25 ) J6 East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Caterham, Godstone A22 Redhill, Westerham (A25)

28.6 46.0 Gatwick Airport , Crawley , Brighton , Croydon M23 J7 Gatwick Airport, Crawley, Brighton, M23(S), Croydon M23(N)

31.9 51.4 London
(S & SW), Reigate , Sutton A217 Kingston (A240 ) J8 London
(S & SW), Reigate, Sutton A217 Kingston (A240)

38.5 39.5 62.0 63.5 Leatherhead A243 , Dorking , (A24 ) J9 Leatherhead A243, Dorking (A24)

42.6 43.2 68.6 69.5 Cobham services Services Cobham services

45.0 72.4 London
(SW & C), Guildford , Portsmouth A3 J10 London
(SW & C), Guildford, Kingston A3

49.8 80.2 Chertsey A317 , Woking A320 J11 Woking A320, Chertsey A317

52.1 83.8 Basingstoke , Southampton , Richmond M3 J12 Basingstoke, Southampton, Richmond M3

55.2 88.8 London
(W & C), Hounslow, Staines A30 J13 London
(W & C), Hounslow, Staines A30

57.0 91.8 Heathrow Airport (Terminals 4, 5 and Cargo) A3113 J14 Heathrow Airport (Terminals 4, 5 and Cargo) A3113

59.0 95.0 The West, Slough , Reading , London
(W & C), Heathrow Airport (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) M4 European route E30 J15 The West, Slough, Reading M4(W) London
(W & C), Heathrow Airport (Terminals 1, 2 & 3) M4(E) European route E30

63.8 102.6 The North, Birmingham , Oxford , Uxbridge , London
(W & C) M40 J16 Birmingham, Oxford M40(W) Uxbridge, London
(W & C) M40(E) European route E30

68.7 110.5 Rickmansworth , Maple Cross (A412 ) J17 Rickmansworth, Maple Cross A412 European route E30

69.9 112.5 Chorleywood , Amersham A404 J18 Chorleywood, Amersham A404 European route E30

71.5 116.4 Watford A41 J19 Exit via J20 – Watford A41 European route E30

73.5 118.2 Hemel Hempstead , Aylesbury A41 J20 Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury, Watford A41 European route E30

76.3 122.8 The North, Luton & Luton Airport M1 J21 The North, Luton & Luton Airport M1 European route E30

76.9 123.7 Watford A405 Harrow (M1 South) European route E13 J21A St Albans
St Albans
A405 London
(NW & C) (M1 (South)) European route E30

80.6 129.7 London
Colney A1081 J22 St Albans
St Albans
A1081 European route E30

83.3 134.0 Hatfield A1(M) , London
(NW & C) A1 , Barnet A1081 South Mimms services J23 Hatfield A1(M), London
(NW & C) A1, Barnet A1081 South Mimms services European route E30

85.9 138.2 Potters Bar A111 J24 Potters Bar A111 / European route E15 / European route E30

91.4 147.1 Enfield Town , Hertford A10 J25 Enfield, Hertford, London
(N & C) A10 / European route E15 / European route E30

94.9 152.7 Waltham Abbey , Loughton A121 J26 Waltham Abbey, Loughton A121 / European route E15 / European route E30

99.2 159.7 London
(NE & C), Stansted Airport , Harlow , Cambridge M11 J27 London
(NE & C) M11(N) , Stansted Airport, Harlow, Cambridge M11(S)

/ European route E15 / European route E30

107.1 172.4 Chelmsford , Witham , Colchester A12 Brentwood A1023 European route E30 J28 Chelmsford, Romford A12 Brentwood A1023 European route E15

109.9 176.8 Romford, Basildon , Southend A127 J29 Basildon, Southend, Romford A127 European route E15

115.2 185.4 Tilbury, Thurrock, Lakeside A13(E), London
(E & C) A13(W) Thurrock services J30 London
(E background-color:#eaecf0">1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

* 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. London
Assembly Archived 9 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine . – _Poll says M25 is London's "natural boundary"_. 2 March 2004. * ^ _Communications Act 2003_, The National Archive, 2003, retrieved 5 September 2011 that requires "a suitable proportion of the programmes made in the United Kingdom" to be made "in the United Kingdom outside the M25 area", defined in Section 362 as "the area the outer boundary of which is represented by the London
Orbital Motorway (M25)". * ^ "M25 MSA New Barn Farm Cobham". Highways Agency . Archived from the original on 3 March 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010. * ^ "Cobham M25 service station opened". BBC News . 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. * ^ London
Ringways Plan http://www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/ringw