M50 - B4221

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Where is it?

Junction diagramM50 junction 3, the point where the M50, an inconsequential motorway carrying very little traffic comes across an even less important B-road, and for no apparent reason interchanges with it.

What's wrong with it?

Quite aside from the fact that there's really no need for it to be there, it's shockingly below standard for a motorway. There are no sliproads or deceleration lanes to speak of, simply very very tight bends which end abruptly a few feet from the motorway at Give Way signs. There isn't even any traffic island between the entry and exit points — just a painted triangle on the carriageway. And to verify that this junction truly is abysmal, the signs on the M50 in advance of the junction aren't the normal fork ones but instead show the exit leaving at 90 degrees from the motorway — which it does!

Why is it wrong?

The M50 is in the top 5 of earliest motorways to open, though it's a complete mystery why as even today it's barely used. There's even less reason, then, for a junction with the B4221, and so it's quite fitting that the junction that is there is barely more than a gap in the motorway's boundary fence. Experimental 1960s design standards — similar to some of the junctions on the M2 before the recent upgrades — are largely to blame here.

What would be better?

Just close it off — there's no need for a junction anyway! This wouldn't take much effort at all, just wipe off the exit markings, draw a hard shoulder line across and grass over the space between the motorway and the B4221.

Right to reply

Hate this junction? Or do you think it hasn't had a fair trial? Make yourself heard! Post a comment.

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

February 2015

Mike Jones isn't worried:

This junction isn't particularly dangerous and it does the job of providing Newent with kind of motorway access that some large cities can only dream of (Plymouth, Norwich). But joining westbound I noticed one shocking feature. As you join there is a sign facing you saying "Dual carriageway" with a one way arrow. A dual carriageway is a different class of road to a motorway with different rules- speed limits for large vehicles or forbidden traffic. A learner seeing that sign could easily think it allows them to use the M50, a van driver could think his speed limit is 60 when it's 70.

The M50 is a dual carriageway, so the sign isn't wrong, but it's certainly unusual. -Ed.

November 2009

Rob H sees the upside:

This is surely a preposterous state of affairs if I ever saw one, but check out the farm to the South, which effectively has its own motorway junction! Very swish.

Mark Edwards :

I agree it is of substandard design, but I use this junction regularly: Eastbound it provides a useful alternative between the A40/449 north of Ross on Wye and A40 Gloucester, using the B4221 and B4215 via Newent and Highnam. THe A40 between these points is only a mile or two shorter and because of the traffic levels and winding route is actually slower than the above B road. Westbound affords a better route to Hereford from the M50 than either the one proscribed through Ledbury or the one up the A449 at the end of the M50.

John :

I jump to defend both the M50 (a valuable Midlands-South Wales route avoiding the exorbitant Severn Crossing tolls), and the reviled Linton junction. The B4221/M50 route (which I took frequently when I lived in Oxford) enabled east-west traffic into/from mid-Wales to avoid the very twisting and slow A40 between Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye - the B4221 is much better and quicker.

Simon "M4Man" :

M50 Junction 3 - the only T junction on a motorway? Keep it for it's quirkiness! But you wouldn't want to put it anywhere where there is any traffic. None of the old M2 junctions were anything like as tight as this. This is even tighter than the junctions on the A41 Berkhamsted bypass - and they're pretty awful too.