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The M11 motorway in England is a major road running approximately north from the North Circular Road (A406) in South Woodford in north-east London to the A14, north-west of Cambridge.


The M11 starts in north-east London at the North Circular (A406), heading north to the M25 and then passing to the east of Harlow and Bishop's Stortford and to the west of Stansted Airport, ending at a junction with the A14 to the west of Cambridge.

The motorway has three lanes both ways from shortly after junction 4 up until junction 8, except for a brief two lane section at J6 beneath the M25. From junction 8 the road is two lanes both ways to junction 14 where it ends.

The motorway is illuminated at the southern terminus near junction 4, at junction 6 (M25 interchange), junction 8 (Stansted Airport/Bishop's Stortford), and the northern terminus at junction 14(A14). All four of these sections use modern high pressure sodium (SON) lighting. The older yellow low pressure sodium (SOX) lighting originally used at junctions 4 and 6 was replaced in 2005.



File:Motorway M11 Cambridge.JPG

The M11 north of Cambridge

Plans for an 'Eastern Avenue' leading from London had been proposed as early as 1915 and the Eastern Avenue Extension was causing local concern in Leyton and Hackney during the late 1950s and early 1960s.[1] It was opposed by a number of groups, including the Hackney Society[2] and local residents as represented by their member of parliament.[3]

In 1966 it had been intended that the motorway would follow a different route out of London, starting at Dalston and heading north-east to Walthamstow then north past Chingford and Waltham Cross to meet the current alignment north of Harlow and the proposed section of the motorway from South Woodford to Islington would have been the designated as the M12.[citation needed]

It was planned that the M11 would start at The Angel, Islington nearer central London. The route was not certain and there were differences between the plans proposed by the Greater London Council and the Ministry of Transport,[4] however the section may have run east alongside the Regent's Canal and the north side of Victoria Park to an interchange at Hackney Wick where it would have connected to the North Cross and East Cross Routes at the north-east corner of the Ringway 1 (London Motorway Box) of the London Ringways plan.[4]

There were three proposed routes from Ringway 1 to Ringway 2 (North Circular) at the base of the current M11 and it is unclear which one was favoured.[4]

At the start of the current M11 (junction 4) at the North Circular the motorway would have connected with the eastern end of a proposed M12 motorway to Essex and also with the planned M15 motorway (Ringway 2) which was an upgrade to the North Circular to motorway standard. When the southern end of the current M11 was finally constructed, space was provided between the two carriageways to enable the M12 carriageways to merge with it and the M15 and junctions 1, 2 and 3 were reserved for the additional inner London section. One clue to the location of the un-built southern section of the M11 is the bridge over seemingly nothing along the current northbound A406 to M11 "slip-road".

In March 1975 it was announced that the length from Junction 8 (Bishops Stortford exit) up to Junction 14, including the Cambridge western bypass would not, after all, be constructed to "M1" standard.[5] This was a gentle way of stating that following a change in government policy this section would comprise two rather than three lanes in each direction.[5]


The motorway was opened in stages. The stretch between Junctions 7 and 8 opened in 1975, that between Junctions 4 and 7 (constructed to the south of the future M25 interchange by W & C French Engineering, and to north of the future M25 interchange by Dowsett Engineering Construction Ltd of Harrogate, Yorkshire[6]) in 1977. Continuing away from London, the Junctions 8 to 9 section opened in 1979 and that between Junctions 9 and 14 in 1980, the full length between the edges of London and Cambridge becoming fully operational in February 1980.[7][8]

During the 1970s when the road was built budgets were tight, and as a consequence unsurfaced concrete was used between Junction 14 and a point approximately Template:Convert/mi to the south of Junction 7. South of this stretch, where the road runs on soft ground close to the River Roding, concrete was considered unsuitable due to the looseness of the subsoil and the consequent risk of random cracking, so the road surface here was of tarmac from the start.


The 'M11 Link Road', or more formally 'A12 Hackney to M11 link road' was constructed from (Wanstead to Hackney Wick) during the 1990s and was opened in 1999 as the A12.[9] The route of this highly controversial road, which followed a similar route to that of the planned M11 extension[4] resulted in the protracted M11 link road protest between 1993 and 1995, which one of a number of major UK road protests at the time.

A Government plan to add north-facing connections at Junction 5 (Loughton) was deleted in 1998.[10]

Since the late 1990s the concrete surface – which had become seriously degraded – was progressively replaced with modern tarmac and drainage improvements were implemented at the same time. This work was completed in June 2008.

Junction 8A for the A120 road and Stansted Airport opened in December 2002.

Proposed developments[]

As part of the plans for the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport the Highways Agency has been working with BAA on improvements to transport access to the airport[11] including two proposals for the M11.[12]

M11 Junctions 6 to 8 improvements[]

Template:Infobox Future Infrastructure Project Proposals were made to upgrade the M11, between junction 6 and 8, from 3 lane carriageway to 4 lane carriageway with an estimated cost of £698 million given in 2007.[13] A number of public consultations were made throughout 2007[14] and although efforts were made to limit environmental damage the scheme would cause disruption to three designated ecological areas and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Gernon Bushes.[11] Maps of the proposal and previously discounted options have were published by the Highways Agency. Plans where abandoned in March 2009 when the Secretary of State for Transport announced that no changes would be made to this section of motorway before 2021.[15]

M11 and A120 Stansted Generation 2 Airport access[]

Template:Infobox Future Infrastructure Project A joint scheme involving works on junctions on the M11 and A120. It proposes that changes would be made to junction 8 of the M11 with the creation of junction 8b, linked to and situated just north of junction 8/8a and the creation of a new junction on the A120, to provide additional access to Stansted Airport.[16] The scheme was given an estimated cost of £131 million in May 2008.[17] Throughout 2007 a number of public consultations and exhibitions were held. Findings from these showed that although the public had several concerns regarding environmental impact 57% of attendees agreed the scheme would be necessary if the Stansted Airport expansion proceeded.[16] Following the public consultation the Preferred Route was published on 5 March 2008 and Draft Orders on 27 March 2008.[18] A pre-public inquiry meeting took place on 10 November 2008[19] with a public inquiry due in April 2009.[20] However, this was delayed until further notice following BAA's appeal against the March 2009 ruling of the Competition Commission.[21]


Plane crash[]

In June 2002, a brake failure on an Aero L-39 Albatross landing at Imperial War Museum caused the plane to run off the end of the runway and down the embankment on to the motorway. The trainee pilot was killed when he ejected from ground level but the instructor survived the accident and no vehicles on the motorway were involved.[22] The main runway at Duxford had been shortened in 1977 from Category:Aldwych Branch The Short Streach Of Line Between Holborn And Aldwych Was Closed In 1994.The Line Was Due To be extended to Waterloo but never was.There will be a bit of Aldwych In My Website when added to Category:Aldwych Branch The Short Streach Of Line Between Holborn And Aldwych Was Closed In 1994.The Line Was Due To be extended to Waterloo but never was.There will be a bit of Aldwych In My Website when added when the motorway was built. More recently even though Duxford already met all licensing requirements, the declared length was reduced to Category:Aldwych Branch The Short Streach Of Line Between Holborn And Aldwych Was Closed In 1994.The Line Was Due To be extended to Waterloo but never was.There will be a bit of Aldwych In My Website when added to further increase safety.[23][24]

Snow storm[]

In January 2003, thousands of motorists became stranded for up to 20 hours between junctions 7 & 9 during a snowstorm. [25]

Pigs run loose[]

On 30 December 2009, a herd of pigs escaped on to the motorway after the lorry transporting them crashed. The vehicle was carrying more than 80 pigs and a large number of the animals escaped and were wandering on both sides of the central reservation. The emergency services and the RSPCA were called to the scene between Harlow and the Stansted Airport junction at Bishop's Stortford. Both carriageways were closed so loose animals could be caught. The southbound road was closed until the afternoon but the northbound lanes reopened at 1000 GMT.

Firefighters and police made a makeshift pen to secure the animals. A vet was called as one pig appeared to have injuries to its back and there were others with unknown injuries, a fire service spokesman said. The lorry driver was being treated for minor injuries at the scene by the ambulance service.[citation needed]


Data[26] from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.

M11 Motorway
km Southbound exits (B Carriageway) Junction Northbound exits (A Carriageway)
12.1 North Circular A406 (West) , West End
The City, Docklands, Blackwall Tunnel (A12), A406 South
J4 Start of motorway
18.4 Template:No2 No access J5 Loughton A1168
23.6 M25 West, Watford (M1) , Oxford (M40), Heathrow Airport (M4), M3
M25 East, Maidstone (M20), Gatwick Airport (M23),
J6 Hatfield, Dartford, Maidstone
30.7 Chelmsford, Harlow A414 J7 Harlow A414
46.5 Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford A120
Birchanger Green services
Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford A120,
Birchanger Green services
47.0 Template:No2 No access J8a Stansted Airport A120
69.7 Template:No2 No access J9 Newmarket, Norwich A11
73.9 Saffron Walden, Duxford, Haverhill A505 J10 Royston, Duxford A505
81.7 Royston A10
Cambridge A1309
J11 Harston A10
Cambridge A1309
85.9 Cambridge, Sandy A603 J12 Cambridge, Sandy A603
88.6 Template:No2 No access J13 Cambridge, Bedford A1303
90.4 Start of motorway J14 Newmarket A14
Non-motorway traffic: Cambridge, Newmarket A14 Road continues north as A14 towards Huntingdon and The MIDLANDS

See also[]


  1. Leyton - Introduction. British History. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  2. History. Hackney Society. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  3. Eastern Avenue Extension. Hansard. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Histories - Ringways - Northern Radials - M11. CBRD. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Motorweek: Three lanes to two" (22 March 1975). Motor: page 25. 
  6. The Motorway Archive. Retrieved on 2009-09-07.
  7. M11. CBRD. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  8. M11 chronology map. CBRD. Retrieved on 2009-06-29.
  9. Missing link. Retrieved on 2009-12-28.
  10. Taking Road Safety To The Extreme (1998-08-15). Retrieved on 2008-02-02.
  11. 11.0 11.1 M11 Junctions 6 to 8 Improvements Spring 2007 Consultation. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  12. plane talk February/March 2007. BAA. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  13. M11 Junctions 6 to 8 Improvements Original Proposal. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  14. M11 Junctions 6 to 8 Improvements. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  15. Road and rail capacity (East of England). Department for Transport.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Stansted Generation 2 Airport Access from M11 and A120. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  17. Appraisal Summary Table: Airport Access Roads. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  18. M11 and A120 Stansted Generation 2 Airport Access. Highways Agency. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  19. Stansted G2 Inquiry Pre-Inqury Meeting. Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  20. Stansted G2 Inquiry. Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
  21. Stansted G2 Publice Inquiry. Planning Inspectorate. Retrieved on 2009-06-29.
  22. BBC News - Motorway reopened after jet crash
  23. Duxford Airfield
  24. Accident Report
  25. BBC - Thousands trapped in snow storm, 31 January 2003
  26. Driver Location Signs (map) Highway Authority 2009

External links[]

Template:UK motorways Template:Transport in London


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