If you've done the photo tour and you've watched the video, you might understandably think you've seen all there is to see of the Ring Road. But you ain't seen nothing until you've toured the junctions! It's much more fun than just driving past them all — but you might want to open the map in a new window to keep track of where you are.
Click a photo to see a larger version.
We begin our more-than-comprehensive tour at junction 2. We've just left the roundabout at junction 1, and this is the off-slip dropping down under the mainline. Are those signs for us?
The underpass beneath the Ring Road. We've got four lanes now — two from the carriageway to our left in the last photo have now joined. What did those signs on the bridge parapet say? Were they important?
Ah, it's the on slip! Oh dear — back around junction 1 to try again then. (The commentary here may sound like it's written to be funny, but this is actually what happened the first time around junction 2!)
Right, around junction 1, and here's the off-slip to junction 2 again. This time, we'll change lanes underneath and stay on the roundabout!
Around the northern side of the roundabout, there's an exit on the right for a coach park! Coach drivers with a sense of fear need not attempt this turn. Somehow there's a parking area for coaches inside the roundabout. It exits back onto the inside behind us.
One down, we rejoin the Ring Road and we're now approaching junction 3. The two left hand lanes here give us plenty of space to turn off.
You could be forgiven for thinking the sliproad just ends in mid air — but no, it's just a blind crest!
Oh no! Suddenly there's two more lanes on the right and a roundabout in about ten seconds' time. Anyone wishing to turn right at this roundabout would need nerves of steel in the rush hour. Luckily, it's not too busy, so we'll loop around and go back on.
Approaching Ring Road again, four lanes go over a small hump and then split in two. Let's carry on around towards junction 4.
A blind corner leads us uphill to the mainline. Bear in mind that if you have any intention of getting onto Ring Road here you need to be in the right hand lane — as we found the hard way! There's a short video of our first attempt at this sliproad.
Back off at junction 4 — no idea what those worn road markings are trying to tell us if we're still doing 40.
We're passing under the mainline here as we curve left, but this view is confusing because we're also elevated.
In fact, we're on the middle level of three in this junction. We're approaching the roundabout already.
Quickly loop around and we're about to use the only junction 3 slip we haven't bagged yet, the entry to the anticlockwise carriageway. And we're about to drop off a cliff, by the looks of it.
This rollercoaster sliproad is about to hit the bottom of the curve and then we accelerate uphill around that blind corner.
Here we are at the bottom. The corner seems so tight it looks like we're going to hit the underside of the viaduct above us instead of coming up alongside it.
The roundabout is just like the mainline — four lanes between the arms, two between the exit and entrance.
We're at a disadvantage trying to merge back in here — notice that there's a deceleration lane on the right for the next junction before we've even thought about merging in.
Underneath junction 7, the flyover's up on steel supports painted a cheery blue. Very smart! It's one of those diamond shaped roundabouts that were in fashion in the 70s.
And why is it on stilts instead of an embankment or retaining wall? Because there's a car park underneath, of course! Ring Road is nothing if not economical with space.
...and the Rest
Time for a whistle-stop tour anticlockwise. Exiting junction 1, there's a funny little exit on the straight before junction 9. Note the 'heritage' street light on the left, which really complements the 1970's ring road and bright red motor parts shop.
The anticlockwise exit for 7 — it just vanishes! Take a look on the left at the small street lights. These crop up all over the western section of Ring Road and — though they might seem to exist to light footpaths — are actually the sliproad lights.
Back at junction 4, we're going to go straight through anticlockwise. So from being ushered through in the right hand lane, we now have to move way over to the left because the sliproad here goes on the right.
Mind how you go around here — there's nothing to stop you crossing over into that queue at the lights! From here, the banking on the clockwise flyover is very obvious too.
And now we move right back over to the far right hand lane to stay on again! No wonder a lot of traffic just waited at the lights instead of risked all the changing lanes through this junction.