A563 - A5460
Where is it?
The way in to Leicester. There's not much choice for people travelling to this East Midlands city by road — if you're coming off the M1 you'll probably have to come through this junction as a sort of initiation test. The former A46 into the city passes through, as does the outer ring road.
It was spotted by Rob.
What's wrong with it?
Everything. I mean, have you seen it? The whole area is strewn with big wide roads, traffic signals, badly aligned roundabouts, odd bits of flyover and so on. There's an uncomfortable air that suggests the whole thing evolved over a period of many years without any particular design, and it's now reached the point where nobody has the faintest idea what to do with the damn thing to fix it. There's also a slim possibility that it is now so complex that it has become sentient, and the confusion it inflicts on travellers is done with malicious intent.
A map cannot do justice to the incredible number of traffic lights that rule over this nightmarish skidpan. There is a fresh red light awaiting you at every turn, and before each one, the road suddenly widens to five, twenty, maybe a hundred lanes. The signs telling you what lane to be in are too late. You're stuck now because there's a lorry on your left and a queue of traffic on your right, and now you will have to resign yourself to being forced to visit the retail park for the third time this morning. Perhaps after a cup of coffee you'll have another go. After all, there's no other way out but through the junction again.
Why is it wrong?
This chaos grew from tidiness. Once, M1 junction 21 had a simple dual-carriageway link to the A46 and all was well. It's still in there somewhere — the link from the M1 to the roundabout on Narborough Road South. But over time, as new roads have come and retail parks have infested the area, bits and pieces have been bolted on as cheaply as possible. Now look at the fine mess we're in.
Unfortunately part of the problem is the large number of high-capacity roads that become entangled here. So much traffic is swapping from one to another that it's hard to pick any particular road as the "main" one.
What would be better?
My own solution to this problem is simply not to visit Leicester, but for those that don't have the luxury of choosing, a couple of flyovers might make all the difference. There's plenty of space for them in what is already an area strewn with multi-lane carriageways and grassy verges of epic proportions. Where they should run and which traffic flows they should carry is another question entirely.
Right to reply
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These are the most recent comments on this junction. You can see all comments if you prefer.
I used this junction for the first time today and fortunately knew which way to go, but the suddenness with which the road widens in places was slightly unnerving. I'm just glad it wasn't rush hour!
On the plus side, I guess this means I've passed the initiation test...
I travel this road every day to and from work as I work on Meridian Business Park. The junction is utterly ridiculous in the way it is set out, and now they are building yet another addition to the mess in the form of a bridge. A lot of the traffic problems seem to be from no-one knowing which lane to take, or if they do then they stick to the wrong lanes and try to cut in at the last minute to save queuing in traffic. A few strategically positioned traffic officers would soon sort this problem out (and also earn some extra revenue in fines). This would soon speed up the traffic as people might be tempted to actually drive correctly. Coupled with some assistance from the council with some road signs we could actually reduce travel times around this junction and lower some peoples blood pressure into the bargain! I agree with some of the comments here that the only real solution is to flatten it and start again but who knows what pain we will have to suffer whilst we do that!
Maurice Andrews writes:
Leicestershire triumphs again! Two junctions from Catthorpe and we have this dogs breakfast. Spoken to local traffic planners and a retired traffic policeman, 'What can be done about it?' It appears nothing. Its gone too far to do anything rather than level it and start again. The A46 northern ring road feeding in traffic to the M1 half a junction north adds to the chaos.Traffic attempts to join the M69 south via a lights controlled roundabout. Vehicles back up the slip road onto the M1.
Jonathan is glad to just be a passenger:
I have a lot of family members in and around Leicester, and for as long as I can remember (over twenty years), have passed through this junction quite a lot - only as a passenger, mind - and each time I've gone through this junction, I've been extremely confused about where we were supposed to be going. It's a mess. Wide roads, confusing signage - I could go on. I haven't yet driven through this junction myself, but I have a good feeling I'll get pretty lost. It's in dire need of improvement, but without traffic flow figures, it's difficult to know which routes should get priority.
JohnD is a prisoner:
Couldn't agree more with all the comments on this one, I have been negotiating it on and off for the last five years and still get it wrong. The worst issue I have is, in having found the Hilton Hotel, how on earth do I get anywhere (other than Fosse Park shopping) on leaving it.