M2 (Northern Ireland)

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Route of the M2 (Northern Ireland)

Most people in Northern Ireland are unwilling to allow road numbers to interfere with their driving. As a result, the M1 is "the motorway" and the M2, having been completed a year or two later in 1966, is "the new motorway" (though really, it depends who you ask: some people deny this completely).

The "new" motorway is central to NI's motorway network (what there is of it). There are only two motorways it doesn't encounter. Of the ones it does, two are direct continuations and the other two are entirely undeserving of their own numbers.

The M2 is now permanently split in two: filling the gap between its two sections is the A26, which has been upgraded and dualled, making any M2 completion plans redundant. Don't hold your breath for the final section to its intended destination of Coleraine either.

Some of the M2's junctions are worth closer inspection. J2 is now a fearsome knot of sliproads but began life as a simple fork, while J1b is the only motorway junctions in the whole of the UK where you can exit from the motorway, but once you've done so, you can't get back on. Junction 7 used to be the same way, but the missing entry sliproads were provided in 2008.

Factfile

Start Belfast (M3, A12)
Finish Ballymena (A26)
Passes Antrim
Length 23 miles
Connects to M3, M5, M22, A8(M), A12

With thanks to Mark Dillon, Gareth, Wesley Johnston and Jonathan for information in this section.