A329(M)

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Route of the A329(M)

The A329(M) traverses a patch of urban Berkshire, connecting Bracknell to Reading and linking both to the M4 — or rather, strictly speaking, connecting the edges of Bracknell and Reading, since it doesn't get very close to the centre of either. It's effectively a two-way spur from the M4.

It used to be longer than it is now, continuing northwards to the A4. That section of road still exists, but it's not the A329(M) any more. The motorway was shortened in the early 2000s as part of a park and ride scheme when the northbound hard shoulder approaching the A4 was converted into a bus lane. An employee of Berkshire County Council confirmed that the intention was simply to put a bus lane on the A329(M), but the Highways Agency stepped in and refused to allow them to do it without downgrading the motorway to an A-road, for no better reason than that they were developing the M4 Bus Lane and wanted to be the first to put a bus lane on a motorway. The northern section of the motorway was duly downgraded and is now the A3290. The M4 Bus Lane, meanwhile, has since been removed, but there's no sign of the A329(M) being restored to its former length.

The reason the A329(M) has such a huge free-flowing interchange with the M4 is because it was supposed to be much longer and more prestigious than it is now. At its northern end, it was supposed to continue parallel to the Thames to reach the Reading Inner Distributor Road — there's even space on Vastern Road in Reading town centre for a flyover to be added as part of its terminal junction. At its southern end, it was meant to be extended to form the M31, a motorway proposed in the 1960s that would have cut the corner between the M4 and what is now the southern section of the M25. This much grander motorway scheme would have seen a motorway from Reading to the M3 via Bracknell Forest, possibly with a further connection to directly interchange with the M25 as well. Pathetic Motorways has details on the proposals, including a map of what the A329(M) might have been.

Even without that extension, the A329(M) still performs that job today, in a more low-key fashion. Considerable volumes of traffic use it — and roads through Bracknell town centre to the A322 — between the M4 and M3, mostly in a bid to avoid part of the M25. The M31 is, unusually, a road that is being used even though it was never built.

Factfile

Start Reading (A3290)
Finish Bracknell (A329)
Passes None
Length 4 miles
Connects to M4

Images

Views of the A329(M) from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.

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On the A3290 approaching the point where the motorway now starts - a non-primary road with a huge signs and a hard shoulder looks quite odd.
Photo by Dave Ryan

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Looking north between there and the M4. The A329(M) is the last rural motorway not to have central crash barriers; however the width of the central reservation (probably designed to take a third lane when the motorway was extended) negates this problem.
Photo by Dave Ryan

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The scale of the M4 interchange is unbelievable for a road the size of the A329(M) - here's one of the tightest sliproads, and they're not very tight at all.
Photo by Dave Ryan

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the A329(M) were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
Feb1973 Entire motorway

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Westbound               Eastbound
Reading
A3290
Earley
Winnersh
(A329)




(A329)
WEST
A3290
Winnersh Triangle (Non-standard interchange)
N/A More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns
2 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 2 miles, 2 lanes
The WEST
Reading (S & W)
Newbury
M4 Link
London
Slough
Heathrow Airport
M4 Link
M4 (Partially Unrolled Cloverleaf) M4 London
Slough
Heathrow Airport
M4 Link
The WEST
Reading (S & W)
Newbury
M4 Link
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 3 miles, 2 lanes
N/A A329



(Roundabout Interchange)
A329
EAST
B3408



Bracknell A329
Binfield B3408
Wokingham A329
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns

With thanks to Chris Saunders and Crinan Dunbar for information in this section.