The M25 is one of those iconic motorways you either love or hate.
Despite it being a major travel link it is usually heavily congested with a crash or breakdown somewhere along the way.
There are a few things that people don’t realise about one of the country’s busiest roads, for example, why is it actually called the M25 in the first place?
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After all, there is an M23 in the UK but there is no M24 – so it can get a bit confusing.
The M25 passes through six counties including Surrey, Berkshire (just on the border), Hertfordshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire and Kent.
It opened in 1986 once the last section was completed – between junction 22 and 23 at London Colney and Junction 1 at South Mimms in Hertfordshire. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened it in October of that year.
It took 14 years to finish building the M25 – work started in 1973 and the first section to be finished was between South Mimms and Potters Bar in 1975.
The first breakdown on the M25 was at 11.16am on October 29, 1986, just a matter of hours after Margaret Thatcher declared it open.
The reasoning behind the name of the motorway is actually quite simple.
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Motorways were essentially named after their nearest A road, reports EssexLive.
For example the M1 connecting the north and south of the country takes its name from the older A1, which runs parallel and serves roughly the same purpose.
When it was decided a motorway was needed along this north to south route, it was simply named after the original road.
This A road continues up through Croydon from where the motorway stops and it does the same at the southern end of the M23, as the motorway becomes the A23 on the way down to Brighton.
The same principle explains the M25, which at its oldest point (the section crossing Surrey) follows the path of the older A25.
These roads are all in the South East, which forms Zone 2 of the country’s motorway system. This explains why they all contain “2” somewhere in their name.
So what about the M24? The answer is it hasn’t been built yet.
The M23 is named after the A23 but although there is an A24 no M24 has been built alongside it.
The M25 was originally designed to carry 100,000 vehicles a day, however in recent years as the road has become considerably busier, there is no doubt this figure has increased.
To build another motorway would be very costly and disruptive, so I don’t think we will be driving down an M24 any time soon.
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