M12 motorway

M12 motorway

The M12 motorway was a motorway originally planned in the mid 1960s to start in north-east London and head east into Essex. The motorway was never built.

The 1960s scheme for the motorway was linked to the London Ringways Plan to build motorways throughout London to ease congestion in the central area. Most of the Ringways plan was cancelled in 1973 but the M12 motorway project was reviewed and revised several times in the following years and, although no construction ever took place, it was not formally cancelled until the 1990s.


There were three main route proposals:
#South Woodford to Brentwood
#South Woodford to a proposed new London Airport at Maplin Sands
#South Woodford (or M25 motorway) to Chelmsford

The motorway would have started in South Woodford where the M11 motorway currently starts (junction 4). A complex junction would have been built here between the M11, M12 and M15 motorways. Due to the cancellation and the scaling back of motorway plans in the 1970s, none of these motorways was built as planned. The M11 was originally intended to continue south-west from junction 4 to start closer to central London and the M15 (north half of the Ringways Plan's Ringway 2) was intended to be the motorway upgrade of the North Circular Road (A406).

When the southern end of the M11 was constructed, land was set aside for the later construction of the interchange. The current carriageways at the south end of the M11 connecting to the A406 would have been slip roads between these two routes. The carriageways for the M11 continuation south-west and the start of the M12 would have been located between the existing M11 lanes.

Evidence for this can be seen on the ground:
* both the northbound and southbound carriageways of the M11 have stubs of slip roads leading to nowhere in the centre of the road at the point where the carriageways have diverged from one another.
* the southbound carriageway has a flyover seemingly over nothing before it splits to join the North Circular Road.
* land immediately to the east of this bridge has been reserved and kept free of housing.

outh Woodford to Brentwood

From South Woodford the M12 would have headed east over what is still mostly open land north of Clayhall and south of Hainault then north-east to Havering-atte-Bower then east towards South Weald, meeting the M25 motorway (Ringway 3) a short distance to the north of junction 28. The motorway would have ended a short distance beyond the M25 on the Brentwood Bypass (A12).

outh Woodford to Maplin Sands

The alignment of this route was not finalised before the proposed airport at Maplin Sands was cancelled but it would have matched the South Woodford-Brentwood alignment to Havering-atte-Bower. The M12 would most probably have then headed south-east and then south to pass east of Harold Hill parallel with the M25 as far as junction 29 where it would have turned east to run north of the A127 passing to the north of Basildon, south of Wickford and to the north of Rayleigh and Southend-on-Sea before heading out into the North Sea to the artificial island that was to be constructed on Maplin Sands for the proposed airport.

outh Woodford to Chelmsford

The M12 to Chelmsford would have run on the alignment previously described to Havering-atte-Bower then continued north-east to meet the M25 (where an additional junction would have been constructed) south of Wattons Green at the administrative boundary between Greater London and Essex. The motorway would have passed north of Pilgrims Hatch and south of Doddinghurst to meet the A12 at its junction with the A414 south of Chelmsford.

ee also

* M12 motorway (Northern Ireland)

External links

* [http://pathetic.org.uk/unbuilt/m12/ Pathetic Motorways - M12]
* [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/histories/ringways/northern/m12.shtml CBRD.co.uk - M12]

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