southern section of the M1 from St Albans to Birmingham was opened
In the early days there was no speed limit, no central reservation,
no crash barriers and no motorway lighting.
More importantly, a mere 13,000 vehicles were estimated to use the
M1 on a daily basis in 1959 compared with today’s figure of just
72 miles of the southern section of the road was built by a labour
force of 5,000 in just 19 months.
works out on average at one mile every eight days.
southern section of the M1 was completed in 19 months at a cost
of £16.5 million.
million tonnes of earth, gravel, rock and chalk were excavated
to make way for the M1.
5,000 labour force who worked on the M1 were brought to work
on double-decker buses. Canteens
were needed every 2.5 miles along the motorway.
cost of the whole M1 was £50 million (the cost today would
approximately be £1.5 billion).
average daily traffic flow on the whole of the M1 is 88,000
vehicles per day.
M1 is monitored 24 hours a day by eight different police control
heaviest traffic flow is between junction 7-10.
investigations and research took four years which is not surprising
considering the project would be the first substantial length of
motorway ever built in this country.
big day and beyond
M1 was officially opened on 2nd November 1959
by the Minister for Transport
described the M1 as a "magnificent motorway opening up a new era
in road travel, in-keeping with the new, exciting, scientific age
in which we live."
many describe it as a car park; the problem being the huge increase
of cars on Britain’s roads from 2.8 million in 1959 to over 27.5
M1 now stretches from the north circular road in London to the Leeds
city boundary and is 187 miles long.