What is an expressway?

motorway bridge

Published on 24 June 2017 by Robert Drane

Highways England wants to turn some of our A-roads into expressways. You won't see one before 2020 and Highways England is still working out the details.

You could describe an expressway as a sort of 'motorway-lite'.

Expressways will have two carriageways separated by a concrete barrier. All junctions will be like motorway junctions, using slip roads. Junctions will normally be more compact than those on motorways and can be closer together. There will be no side turnings, other than the slip roads, and no gaps in the central reservation.

Like motorways, expressways will usually have a hard shoulder and, like smart motorways, the hard shoulder will be used as an extra running lane. Where the hard shoulder can be used as a running lane, refuge areas will be provided for emergency use.

These expressways will also be 'smart', with signage above the lanes.


But what happens to small and non-motorised vehicles?

Highways England is required to make provision for all road users. so mopeds, pedestrians and cyclists shouldn’t worry.

Footpaths, bridleways and similar routes which cross the existing road must also be accommodated in some way. This will usually be accomplished by building bridges or underpasses.


Why do we need expressways?

One reason Highways England wants to build expressways is because of safety. Motorways are the safest roads in the UK per vehicle mile – having more roads like them might help to cut down on crashes. It's also about adding technology for road management; particularly to maintain a good flow of traffic.

The BMF is following the development of expressways very closely - we fight to protect motorcyclists’ rights and interests. If you have any concerns, join today and make your opinion heard.




Main image: © Pete Chapman (cc-by-sa/2.0)