M50 shield
M50
M50 motorway from Ryton Bridge.jpg
The M50, looking south-west from the Ryton Bridge towards Ross-on-Wye
Route information
Maintained by Highways England
Length21.6 mi (34.8 km)
Existed1960–present
HistoryConstructed 1958–62[1]
Major junctions
East endStrensham
Major intersections
UK-Motorway-M5.svg

M5 motorway
West endRoss-on-Wye
Section 1
Major intersectionsA449 road
Location
CountryUnited Kingdom
Road network
M49 M53

The M50 is a dual two-lane motorway in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire, England. Sometimes referred to as the Ross Spur, it is a 22 miles (35 km) connection of the M5 motorway to a point near Ross-on-Wye, where it joins the A40 road continuing westward into Wales. The motorway was fully opened in 1962.

Route

The M50 runs between junction 8 of the M5 motorway, 4 miles (6.4 km) NNE of Tewkesbury on the Gloucestershire-Worcestershire border; and the junction with the A449, the A40 and the A465 ("Heads of the Valleys Road") taking traffic into South Wales.

Leaving the M5 at junction 8, it passes north of Tewkesbury then south of Ledbury. Between junctions 1 and 2 chiefly for these towns respectively, it crosses the River Severn on the Queenhill Bridge and Viaduct over the flood plain. After passing north of Newent, the motorway terminates at junction 4.

History

M50 under construction in 1960
A train using the newly constructed viaduct on the Tewkesbury and Malvern railway – the line was to be dismantled a few years later
A train using the newly constructed viaduct on the Tewkesbury and Malvern railway – the line was to be dismantled a few years later

The construction works for the M50 were let under four contracts:

Both contracts were undertaken between 1958 and 1962:[2]

On 3 March 1958, Harold Watkinson, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation fired a starting flare during the inauguration ceremony in Herefordshire to signal the start of construction of the M50.[1] Junctions 1 to 4 opened in 1960 and the section between the M5 to junction 1 opened in 1962.

The route forms a strategic (that is, trunk or main) route from the Midlands and northern Britain to South Wales (also including the A449 and A40 and so was constructed as an early priority.)[3][4] It is one of the few British motorways not to have been widened, instead retaining its original layout of two lanes in each direction.

Murder of Marie Wilks

Main article: Murder of Marie Wilks

In a high-profile case in 1988, a woman was abducted from the hard shoulder of the M50 and found murdered three miles further up the motorway.[5] 22-year-old pregnant Marie Wilks, who had only passed her driving test two months earlier, had been driving with her two children when she accidentally drove onto the M50 after getting lost.[5] Her car broke down on the eastbound carriageway and as she was using the emergency phone at the side of the road, she was abducted in sight of traffic.[5] The telephone operator could then only hear the sound of passing traffic.[5] Less than 10 minutes later, a passing police car saw her two children walking up the hard shoulder, alone.[5] The emergency phone was found dangling and blood was later found on the phone, while Marie was missing.[5] Two days later, the woman's body was found three miles from the scene further up the eastbound carriageway.[5] She had been left down the embankment and been stabbed in the left hand side of her throat, cutting the carotid artery.[5] There was evidence that a car had driven onto the hard shoulder, then reversed behind the crash barrier.[5]

An artists impression of a youthful-looking blonde man that was seen at the scene was released, which led to the arrest of similarly-looking Eddie Browning, a man that had driven from his home to Scotland in his silver Renault 25 after a row with his pregnant wife on the night of Marie’s murder.[5][6] He was convicted at trial after it was found he had driven past Wilks on his journey, but he was released on appeal in 1994 after it was discovered that police had not disclosed a video in which an officer passing the scene was filmed four days before Browning's arrest under hypnosis.[6][5] In the video the officer described seeing a sliver-grey non-metallic non-hatchback Renault car with chrome bumpers and the registration number C856 HFK.[5] Browning's car was a hatchback Renault, with plastic bumpers, and the registration number C754 VAD.[5] Browning died in 2018 and Wilks' murder is unsolved.[6]

Junctions

This article contains a bulleted list or table of intersections which should be presented in a properly formatted junction table. Please consult this guideline for information on how to create one. Please improve this article if you can. (December 2021)

Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[7]

M50 motorway junctions
mile km Eastbound exits (B carriageway) Junction Westbound exits (A carriageway) Coordinates
0.0 0.0 The Midlands, Worcester, Birmingham, The South West, Tewkesbury, Bristol M5 M5, J8
Terminus
Start of motorway 52°02′52″N 2°08′08″W / 52.0477°N 2.1355°W / 52.0477; -2.1355 (M50 J14)
1.7 2.8 Tewkesbury A38 J1 Malvern A38
10.9 17.5 Gloucester A417 J2 Ledbury A417

Hereford (A438)

18.0 28.9 Newent B4221 J3 Newent B4221
21.6 34.7 Start of motorway J4
Terminus
South Wales, Monmouth, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye A449 51°55′49″N 2°33′44″W / 51.9302°N 2.5623°W / 51.9302; -2.5623 (M50 J14)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
In Herefordshire the road passes cultivated fields and pastures
In Herefordshire the road passes cultivated fields and pastures
The minor Junction 3 exits, viewed from the adjoining minor road bridge
The minor Junction 3 exits, viewed from the adjoining minor road bridge

Services

After both ends of the M50 are motorway service stations:

History

Instead of the latter, beyond junction 4 was a larger Ross Spur Services operated by Welcome Break which closed in the 2000s.[8]

Descriptions

Junction 0 (junction 8 of the M5) was originally a free-flowing trumpet-style junction, then converted to a roundabout with M5 flyover when the M5 was widened in the 1990s.[9][10] Junction 1, where the M50 meets the A38, is a partial cloverleaf. Junction 2 has full slips roads from the deceleration lane into the slip roads save the kinked eastbound exit to local roads. Junction 3 consists of dual-carriageway-style 90° exits due to cost, low traffic volume and the style of road; however this has been the scene of various accidents.

The long disused railway bridge over the motorway which carried the Tewkesbury and Malvern Railway was dismantled in 2012 and donated to the Bluebell Railway.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Ross-on-Wye - M50 Motorway". Ross-on-Wye.com & TheVista.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  2. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 dates page". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Motorway Database » M50". CBRD. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  4. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 Scheme Page". Iht.org. 3 March 1958. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "M50 murder - Timeline". BBC News. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b c "The pregnant mum found dead by the side of the M50 has inspired a Booker Prize hopeful". Gloucester Live. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  8. ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Ross Spur Services M50 | Information and Facilities | Motorway Services". Motorwayservices.info. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  9. ^ Major Roads of Great Britain Narrative description of the route
  10. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M5 Widening". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata