It should be that where a motorway starts, traffic not allowed on it is given a way off at the last second. This is the case all over the country — but in one location it was different. The Micklefield Bypass on the A1 in West Yorkshire was half motorway, half all-purpose, with the two sections joining directly onto each other. It's gone now, and the whole thing is now motorway.
Click a photo to see a larger version.
Welcome to the Micklefield Bypass, A1 side. Built in the 1960's with very crude grade-separation at junctions, it also features a sharp left, as signposted here. This section will be bypassed with new-build motorway in a few years. This photo was taken in a rare quiet moment, on a Sunday afternoon.
A slightly neglected footbridge over the bypass: this shows, if the alignment didn't already prove it, that there's no chance of an on-line upgrade to three lane motorway here.
A wider shot of the bypass, looking south from the footbridge. The right-hand bend here is the one the sign above warns northbound traffic about.
Looking north from the footbridge, a similar view as expected. Except that by the time traffic reaches the right-hand bend further up the road, it is a motorway. There is clearly no exit from the road between here and there.
And here is the moment itself — between the two bends seen above, there is an MS1 motorway signal in the central reservation, and a 'start of motorway restrictions' sign at either side. The one on the left hand side has "A1(M)" above the motorway symbol. There is no opportunity for non-motorway traffic to leave the road here, despite people like cyclists and learner drivers having every right to use the road up to that point. There's so little access I couldn't get closer than this to photograph it!
Just south of the footbridge, there's some rather slapdash maintenance on boundary fences, so I could well just wander onto the A1 for a stroll (as I am legally entitled to). Three hundred yards north I would walk into motorway restrictions.
Another hundred yards further south is this slightly alarming sight. A public footpath (appropriately enough named Corpse Road) crosses the A1 with no footbridge or subway, or even warning signs for traffic; just a gap in the barriers. Bear in mind southbound traffic has been travelling on a motorway (or motorway standard road) for at least five miles and will, to say the least, be unprepared for dog walkers strolling across the carriageway.
Moving away from the A1, a few yards east of the footbridge, these little things start appearing: notices for works vehicles, put there by the contractor ready for the start of construction work on the next section of A1(M) which will replace the Micklefield bypass.
Looking north across the countryside, there's evidence that the next upgrade will be off-line: stakes stretch out ascross the field, eventually rejoining the motorway alignment slightly north of its present unusual terminus.
Looking further south, slightly hidden by trees, a village of bright green portacabins is visible. This is likely to be the base for construction work on this section of the new motorway.