Where is it?
Newark-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
It can't help that the single carriageway Newark Western bypass lies between two dual carriageway stretches of the A46 while handling a considerable volume of traffic joining and leaving the A1.
I do believe there are plans in the pipeline to dual the bypass, so maybe there is some prospect of an improvement to this junction.
In terms of upgrading the junction as-is, perhaps rerouting the A46 around the outside of Winthorpe (between the railway line and the village) to connect with the existing roundabout north of the golf centre would be a start. Add a roundabout for local access to Winthorpe and the A1133, and then use what remains of the old A46 mainline as sliproads from the A1/A17 junction to it would be some solution.
Having looked at the old A1/A17 junction though, perhaps reviving that is the best bet, leaving the A46 to take the brunt of this junction, and having the A17 renumbered as an extension of the B6166 towards the roundabout near Coddington.