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Route of the M32

The M32 is a spur in to the centre of Bristol from the M4, entering the city from the north but actually signposted as the way in from all directions on the M4 and M5. Its terrifically rubbish junction with the M4 is only the start of the traffic problems it suffers.

The road was originally just a couple of miles long, with its junctions numbered 19A and 19B to follow from its parent motorway's numbering. When it was granted an extension further into the city it gained its own numbering scheme.

It has the full checklist of urban motorway features, running through deep concrete-walled trenches, crossing viaducts above streets and houses, and passing through complex junctions with unlikely local roads and back streets joining its sliproads. It also has a junction for the wonderfully-named suburb of Fishponds.

The M32 was, apparently, meant to be one of two motorways entering Bristol: the other, a spur to the south of the city, would have left the M5 at junction 20, near Clevedon. Part of the Long Ashton Bypass is laid out with the intention that it would be widened to form part of that motorway route, and the dual carriageway approaching the Cumberland Basin one-way system in the city centre was designed to form its terminus. Both it and the M32 would have arrived in the city centre to meet the Inner Circuit Road, but Bristol's city centre motorway never materialised and neither did its southern spur.

Bristol City Council has proposed downgrading the M32 to an A-road and converting its hard shoulders to bus lanes, but the road is managed by Highways England who are not interested in such a scheme. Its motorway status is safe, for now.

Factfile

Start Hambrook (M4)
Finish Bristol (A4032)
Passes None
Length 4 miles
Connects to M4

Images

Views of the M32 from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.

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Northbound at the M4 junction. The sharp bend signposted just ahead is the former entry to the roundabout, where now the motorway simply has a sharp curve.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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A straight and fairly flat section of motorway between junctions 1 and 2.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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Northbound approaching junction 2, with unusual signing. Note the use of an ampersand between destinations.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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Southbound approaching junction 3. Straight ahead is signed as "City Centre M32" even though the motorway terminates when the sliproads from this interchange merge in.
Photo by Steven Jukes

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Northbound at junction 3, with the start of restrictions sign. Apparently traffic is stationary so regularly here that it is profitable to place advertising sites this small on the verge.
Photo by Steven Jukes

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the M32 were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
Sep1966 J0-1 Hambrook Spur
Jul1970 J1-2 Hambrook → Eastville
May1975 J2-3 Eastville → Ashley Street

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Northbound               Southbound
(M4 J19)
8 km
SOUTH WALES
M4 Link
The SOUTH WEST
Birmingham
(M5) Link
London
M4 Link





M4
(M5)
NORTH
Hambrook Interchange (Non-standard interchange)






M4
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 3 lanes Up   Down 1 mile, 3 lanes
1
7 km
Avon Ring Road
Filton
Downend
A4174
A4174 Frenchay Interchange (Roundabout Interchange)Frenchay Interchange (Roundabout Interchange) A4174 Avon Ring Road
Filton
Downend
A4174
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 2 miles, 2 lanes
2
2.9 km
Stapleton
Frenchay
Horfield
Fishponds
B4469
B4469 (Roundabout Interchange)(Roundabout Interchange) B4469 Stapleton
Frenchay
Horfield
Fishponds
B4469
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns
1 mile, 3 lanes Up   Down 1 mile, 3 lanes
3
1.2 km
B4051




(Roundabout Interchange)
A4032
SOUTH
A4320




Knowle
Bath
A4320 (A4)
City Centre
A4032
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSignsSigns