A1 - A17 - A46

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Where is it?

Junction diagramNewark-on-Trent, a market town on the route of the Great North Road. This junction links the A1's bypass of the town to the A17 and A46, two other major roads that converge here.

It was nominated by Gary.

What's wrong with it?

First impressions are very important. Turn up to a first date in your blood-stained uniform fresh from the abattoir and you are unlikely to get a goodnight kiss. Job interviews should not be attended in a dressing gown and hair curlers. In the same way, the way in to a town can go a long way to shaping your view of it.

Newark is suffering in this regard. Turn off the A1 and the gateway to the town is this underwhelming interchange. It does not signal a forward-thinking place of business and culture. It does not herald a town of civic pride and investment. No, this basic and underdeveloped junction is more likely to bring to mind a grass-chewing yokel leaning on his fence and saying "Arr, Winthorpe, now those feller's 'ave a flyover. Them's posh out that way."

Why is it wrong?

The Newark Bypass is old. Like much of the A1 in the Midlands, it was built as part of a bundle of improvement schemes carried out on the A1 in the 1960s. It has seen little change since then, and the result is this rather old-fashioned affair on a road that is now carrying levels of traffic that, further north, have justified upgrade works to turn the A1 into a three-lane motorway.

There are no motorway upgrades happening to the Nottinghamshire section of the A1, because lately all the money has gone into other roads nearby. There was the A46 Newark Bypass in the 1990s, which was plugged straight into this junction. The A46 Newark to Lincoln, upgraded to dual carriageway in recent years, which — er — plugged straight into this junction. Shortly the A46 will be dualled and turned into a fast expressway all the way from Leicester to Newark and (guess what?) that too will be glued on to this tottering old interchange, sending all through traffic on a new cross-country dual carriageway through the roundabouts at Winthorpe.

It's a fairly common problem: multiple road improvement schemes that fail to take responsibility for the junction where they all meet. Winthorpe Interchange has taken this to a whole new level.

What would be better?

A new junction for the major roads a little further north on the A1 would be nice, leaving this for local traffic, but there are flood plains on the other side of the railway so it's not going to happen.

Perhaps the A46 could bypass this junction immediately to the north, with sliproads back to the roundabouts — that would get rid of some of the through traffic, at least. And, even cheaper, widening out the sliproads a bit so that heavy goods vehicles don't have to breathe in to pass each other would be a simple and very effective improvement.

Right to reply

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These are the most recent comments on this junction. You can see all comments if you prefer.

March 2016

Paul Robson goes his own way:

I sometimes wonder if the best thing to do would be to resurrect the old A17 (the road that goes through Coddington) which doesn't seem to be much worse than the new bit of the A17 and upgrade the old A1/A17 intersection? I go this way pretty much whatever. There's not much reason for A17 traffic to access the A46 - if you go to Lincoln you'd turn off at Sleaford, for Nottingham you'd go through Grantham, I suspect most A17 traffic is joining the A1 heading in the same direction.

It's so bad at times it's arguably quicker to go through the middle of Newark.

February 2016

Anonymous can't see:

Its a nightmare...get some lights on it and cut away all the bushes!

September 2011

Bryn Buck has the diagnosis:

The congestion around this junction at 2pm on a Friday was a sight to behold last week. As always, this is a epitome of the British planning disease... too much in too small a space.

December 2009

Andy Rathe has an idea:

The congestion around this junction could be alleviated if the proposed link from Farndon to the A1 south of Newark is built. This could mean that traffic heading to/from the A46 south of Newark would miss out the Winthorpe junction.

November 2009

Eric Wilsher can't see a thing:

One of the problems with this junction is the bushes etc on the roundabout. If you are trying to join the traffic in a lorry you cannot see cars on the roundabout till it is too late. Sometimes you have to push your way out which is not appreciated by car drivers.