The M11 is a motorway built in the seventies to whiz traffic from London to the newly-developed Stansted airport. An additional two-lane section was built north of there, completed in the early eighties, to get traffic to Cambridge and then onto what is now the A14 and then onto the A1.

Short-sighted planning gave the Stansted junction, where the M11 loses a lane, a normal roundabout interchange, at which all the airport traffic got tangled in the traffic lights along with locals trying to get to Bishop's Stortford. Free-flowing links into the airport's road system were built at great expense in 2002, and things are now flowing smoothly at long last.

Three junctions are missing from the start of the motorway - at the London end it begins at junction 4. The unbuilt part would have been a route further into London to reach Ringway 1, a proposed inner ring motorway for London. The link was eventually built to a different design in the 1990s as the A12 between the A406 and Hackney Wick.

In fact there's a lot that never happened with the M11: its route in to London down the Roding Valley was actually the second choice for the motorway and initially the preferred route would have taken it down the Lea Valley instead, passing west of the new town of Harlow instead of east. The change of plan came too late for the planning of Harlow itself, which now has all its industrial areas on the north and west sides of the town, far away from the motorway connection. One of the town's designers described the change as being like building a seaside town and then "moving the sea".

Start
London
End
Cambridge
Passes
Harlow, Stansted Airport
Connects to
Length
51 miles
Open Junctions Section
Jun 1975 J7-8 Harlow → Stansted
Apr 1977 J4-7 Redbridge → Harlow
Nov 1979 J8-9 Stansted → Stump Cross
Feb 1980 J9-14 Cambridge Western Bypass

Exit list

Junction   Northbound               Southbound  
14
91 km
The NORTH
Huntingdon
A14 Link
Newmarket
A14
Ely
(A10)




A428
NORTH
A14






A14

A1307
N/A
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
2 miles, 2 lanes  
13
88.5 km
Cambridge
Bedford
A1303
(A428)
A1303
(A428)
A1303
LanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 2 lanes 4 miles, 2 lanes
12
85.8 km
Cambridge
Sandy
A603
A603 A603 Cambridge
Sandy
A603
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 2 lanes 2 miles, 2 lanes
11
82 km
Cambridge (S)
A1309
Harston
A10
A10 A1309 Royston
A10
Cambridge (S)
A1309
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
5 miles, 2 lanes 5 miles, 2 lanes
10
74.5 km
Duxford
Royston
A505
A505 A505
(A1307)
Saffron Walden
Duxford
A505
Haverhill
(A1307)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes  
9
68.5 km
Newmarket
Norwich
A11 Link
(A11)
LanesLanesLanesLanes
14 miles, 2 lanes 17 miles, 2 lanes
8
46.5 km
Stansted Airport
Bishop'
s Stortford
A120 Link
Services Birchanger Green

A120

A120


B1256
Stansted Airport
Bishop'
s Stortford
A120 Link
Services Birchanger Green
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
10 miles, 3 lanes 10 miles, 3 lanes
7
31 km
Harlow
A414
A414

B1398
A414 Chelmsford
Harlow
A414
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
4 miles, 3 lanes 4 miles, 3 lanes
6
23.5 km
Watford & (M1 Link)
Heathrow Airport (M4 Link)
Dartford Tunnel (M20 Link)
Gatwick Airport (M23 Link)
M25 Link
M25
(M1)
(M4)
M25
(M20)
(M23)
Watford & (M1 Link)
Heathrow Airport (M4 Link)
Dartford Tunnel (M20 Link)
Gatwick Airport (M23 Link)
M25 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
4 miles, 3 lanes  
5
18.5 km
Loughton
A1168
A1168 A1168
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 3 lanes 7 miles, 3 lanes
14.7 km
Signs LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
1 mile, 3 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
4
12.5 km
N/A A406
(A503)





SOUTH
A406
(A12)
(A13)




North Circular Road (W)
West End (A503)
A406 Link
North Circular Road (S)
The City (A12)
Docklands (A13 Link)
A406 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes SignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
Routes

Picture credits

  • Photograph of the M11 taken from an original by Marek and used with permissions.

With thanks to Clive Jones, Ian Cowley, Tom, Jessica Carter, John Griffiths, Neale Richell and Chris Williams for information on this page.