The Motorway Archive
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What is the Motorway Archive?
Work on developing the UK Motorway system, which transformed British travel, started in the mid-1950s. The Motorway Archive celebrates the engineering achievement involved in the conception, planning, design and construction of this transport network by thousands of dedicated professionals. The Archive itself is a collection of as many of the documents and artefacts, which were associated with the development, as it has been possible to find. From this wealth of material has come the story of each motorway developed in Britain over the last 50 years. This is the story of one of them.

Region: South East

M2. The Medway Towns By-Pass

M2 Medway Bridge map

This was one of the very early motorways, constructed between 1961 and 1963. It is a 25 mile long stretch of motorway designed to by-pass A2 where the latter ran through the Medway Towns. The rest of A2 was upgraded as an all purpose trunk road, but with the section into Dover remaining as single carriageway, and M20 became the main link to the ports of Folkestone and Dover and eventually to the Channel Tunnel.

The road was designed and supervised by Freeman Fox & Partners, in association with Robert F Early. It has not been possible to collect much archive material. Newspaper articles, especially given the problems we faced in later years with objectors, stressed the euphoria with which the new road was greeted.  It was of course a by-pass to the Medway Towns, which used to suffer badly from severe traffic congestion and the relief was immediate and apparent, but there is little doubt that to promote the road now through what is quite pleasant countryside would provoke considerable opposition.

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