Brand New Tarmac
Some photos of the M1's extension, from the footbridge just to the north of junction 46. They were taken way back in August 2001 — the motorway was slightly over two years old at the time, and the northern half of junction 46 had yet to be built.
Click a photo to see a larger version.
We're not used to seeing roads like this today: roads at the very start of their design life. New roads are designed to accommodate predicted traffic flows 30 years into the future, and so when they first open they are — like this one — very empty.
Future sliproads — since this photo was taken, the junction has been altered and the north-side sliproads are now moved up to here. It was done to provide direct access from the junction to a new office park. The question is — why wasn't this the original junction plan? It was clearly known about since the motorway was built with provision for the alteration here.
The M1 extension is a very high-tech bit of road. It has gantries every mile with the matrix warning signs on — as here — set up automatically to say things like "Spray — Slow down" and so on. Very clever. The smaller matrix signs as seen on most motorways appear on entrance sliproads.
And now, three more pictures
Just to the south of the footbridge here. This is of course a standard orange SOS phone (now gone because of the junction alterations). And what a nicely mown verge — I've yet to see anyone drive up here on a ride-on lawnmower though.
"No services on M1" — though this isn't much of an issue since there's less than two miles of M1 left if you're going this way. The sign is extra-big to accommodate future services on the A1(M) — when the road first opened it actually read "A1 — Little Chef, 7m" though these are now closed.
You might notice all the direction signs on the motorway are on gantries — this is being phased in (slowly) on all busy motorways, since they are easier to see when the left lane's full of high-sided HGVs. Maybe one day all motorways will be signed like this.