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By G. Charlesworth

In A heritage of British Motorways, Dr Charlesworth provides a desirable account of ways political and social attitudes pertaining to motorways have evolved.  He describes the early highway guidelines prior to and among the 2 international Wars and is going directly to conceal the development speeded up within the Sixties; in spite of the fact that, in the course of the Nineteen Seventies objections started to be raised on environmental and social grounds.These, coupled with the oil trouble of 1973/4 and the overall downturn within the economic system, lowered the growth that was once being made.

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These included extension of the London-Yorkshire motorway from Crick to Leeds, work on the Birmingham-Preston motorway, the new route from Birmingham to South Wales, parts ofa new route from London to South Wales and the 25 mile Medway motorway. Preliminary planning had also started on an extension of the Birmingham-Preston route northwards from the Preston by-pass to Penrith. The motorway framework in 1959 is shown in Fig. l. Lancashire had been the first county to open a motorway but several other County Surveyors and consultants were also pressing ahead energetically with work on the various schemes announced by the Minister.

Evidence was given of substantial savings on maintenance as a result of the application of the work of the Laboratory, but research on the road structure was held up for lack of full-scale experimental sites. In written evidence the Laboratory pointed out that large sums of money would be needed when new roads were to be constructed and that costs, excluding the cost of land, might be £200,000 per mile (at 1953 prices). Research on the road structure had reached a stage when full-scale experiments were required, particularly on a road built over clay, and that in the absence of new road construction these could not be made.

Baker (later to become Director of Highway Engineering). This section was charged with looking into plans and standards for motorways and Baker was a member of the team, mentioned in chapter 2, which inspected the German Autobahnen in 1946. However, work on the section was halted by the economic New roads to be constructed as motor roads - - - - Existing roads generally improved on their present alignment - - - - London orbital road Fig. 1 Future pattern of principal national routes, 1946 (from Milne & Westhorpe, Proc.

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