Nobody celebrates a new road these days. There's no ceremony, no fanfare. No mementos for the locals to keep. No fanfare or cheering. There's rarely a ribbon to cut and a distinct shortage of little bronze plaques. And, of course, there's no glossy booklets to record what an achievement it all was.
Partly this is because it isn't an achievement. We've built a lot of roads in the last century and it's not a big thing any more. And partly it's because roads just aren't something to celebrate any more. Today they're done quietly for fear of an environmental backlash, as if building a road gives civil servants a guilty conscience and the whole thing is better forgotten.
Until the 1970s, the Department of Transport usually issued a booklet of some kind to mark the opening ceremony. This part of the site lets you see just what was in them - rare, archive photos of newly-opened roads that have changed beyond all recognition and, just sometimes, a glimpse of what was planned at the time but never saw the light of day.
To contrast with the M2 booklets above, these documents describe the upgrade work which was carried out in the last few years to improve the A2 west of the M2.
They serve as a fascinating contrast to the M2 booklets. Back in the 1960s, some monochrome booklets were published and then only when the road was finished. Today we get full-colour pamphlets every few months, distributed to anyone who lives nearby, for a widening scheme. One is preserved here as examples of current Highways Agency practice. Thanks to Josh Pettman for providing it.