Apart from the occasional sighting of a red kite over the central reservation, motorways are the most interminably boring sections of the road network and should generally be avoided unless you’re visiting a relative or friend who is part of a tarmacking gang.
The first significant length of motorway, imaginatively named the M1, was opened by the then Minister of Transport, Ernest Marbles, in 1959, and in an eerie harbinger of the route’s future, he fell asleep while cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
Very few motorways are fully open along their entire length, and in the case of the M876, all six lanes from Denny to Airth have been subject to continuous resurfacing since 1992. Although all of the lanes of the M4 are theoretically open, in practice, two lanes in each direction are usually occupied by tractors, while much of the M18 has been grassed over to make the approach to Doncaster more appealing.
By 2050, it is planned to increase the UK motorway network by more than 30,000 miles – including a four-lane highway connecting Lundy harbour with the rocky bit at the other end, the widening of the M11 with the consequent demolition of Cambridge University and the construction of a continuous overhead motorway connecting all 15 inhabited islands of the Outer Hebrides from Rennish Point (Rubha Reinis) in the south to the Butt of Lewis (Rubha Robhanais) in the north.