The M271, a spur from the M27 towards Southampton's docks, is a troubled little motorway. It doesn't ask for much, shifting traffic around the west of Southampton, connecting the motorway to the western suburbs and the A33. It isn't a big job, and yet somehow the M271 gets it all wrong.

Its number is dubious, for a start. There are rules about how motorways should be numbered. The M271 lies entirely west of the M3, so really its number ought to begin with a 3, but it doesn't. That might make the more pedantic road enthusiast squirm, but it's not a big problem.

No, if we're looking for big problems, we need to attend to its interchange with the M27. It's a roundabout with peak time traffic signals, through which all M271 traffic must pass. That makes it - along with the A627(M) - one of the few places you'll find a set of traffic lights on the mainline of a motorway.

In fact, there's very little about the M271's design that would suggest that it is a motorway, if the roadsigns along its route didn't declare that it was one. There's only one junction on its route that doesn't require M271 traffic to stop. The one full junction worthy of a motorway connects only to a local road and an industrial estate.

But it could be worse. You can complain about the M271 not flying the flag for high standards of design and construction, or you can do without it and have heavy lorry traffic bound for the docks piling up through Southampton's suburbs. So, unimpressive as it is, it might not be so bad after all.

Start
Upton
End
Totton
Passes
None
Connects to
Length
3 miles
Open Junctions Section
1975 Entire motorway

Exit list

Junction   Northbound               Southbound  
11.8 km Romsey
A3057
Rownhams
Nursling
A3057




A3057
NORTH




A3057
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
M27 J3
10.6 km
Salisbury (A36)
Bournemouth (A31)
M27 Link
Eastleigh
Winchester
(M3 Link)
M27 Link
M27
(A31)
(A36)
M27
(M3)
Eastleigh
Winchester
(M3 Link)
M27 Link
Salisbury (A36)
Bournemouth (A31)
M27 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
12 km Lordshill
Industrial Estate
(A3057)
(A3057) Lordshill
Industrial Estate
(A3057)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 3 lanes 1 mile, 3 lanes
13.2 km N/A A35






SOUTH
A35
(A33)





Southampton & Vehicle Ferry
Millbrook
A35 (A33)
Totton
Lyndhurst
A35
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes SignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes SignsSigns
Routes

Picture credits

  • Photograph of the M271 is taken from an original by Steven Jukes and used with permission.