All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

motorway. Class of highway with two or more lanes in each direction, designed and regulated for use by fast motor traffic only. The German super-highway concept dates from 1911, and a small length of express road was opened between Witzleben and Nikolassee, Berlin, in 1921. In Northern Italy a prototype autostrada was commenced in 1922 and opened in 1924. In Germany a similar road (Autobahn) was proposed linking Hamburg, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Basel, but the German network of motorways quickly got under way after Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) came to power in 1933, the initial planning having been carried out by private companies during the Weimar Republic (1918–33). Todt was appointed Inspector-General of German Highways in 1933. He, in turn, employed the land-scape-architect Alwin Seifert to take charge of landscaping, and the Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt was opened in 1935. Bonatz designed bridges, viaducts, and other structures: his bridge over the River Lahn at Limburg was typical of his accomplishment in producing works of the highest aesthetic quality. Other bridges and monumental structures were designed by Friedrich ( Fritz) Tamms (1904–80). It is not generally realized that one of the key reasons for building the Autobahnen was propaganda, to create a means by which the beauties of the German landscape could be enjoyed: the new roads would emphasize the unity of the Fatherland, dissolving the borders of the former Länder, and themselves be works of art as noble as anything the Romans had left.

In the USA national coast-to-coast highways were proposed by Manning in 1923, but the system of true motorways with limited access was commenced in the 1950s. In the UK and elsewhere in Europe huge motorway systems were constructed since the 1950s, some more successfully landscaped than others, while the pre-war Italian and German networks were expanded.


P. Adam (1992);
Council of Europe (1995);
Ladret (1974);
Spotts (2002)

views updated

motorways are segregated roads devoted to trunk motor traffic. Conceptualized by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in 1906, and proposed by private member's bill in 1924, they were evaluated by a parliamentary delegation to Germany in 1937, and a toll-financed route from London to Birmingham was surveyed in 1938, but became a casualty of rearmament. This reservation for specific users broke the principles of open access to the king's highway, and required permissive legislation in the Special Roads Act of 1949, a little-known feature of the Attlee government's integrated transport policy. The first true motorway was the Preston bypass of 1958, precursor to the opening of the first part of the M1 in 1959. The network grew slowly: by April 1963, only 194 miles were open, reaching 957 by 1973, 1,731 in 1984, and 1,969 in 1994.

Motorways cut journey times, halving the coach journey from Birmingham to London in 1960, and reduced fatal accidents to less than half the level of ordinary roads. They spread the commuting zone, especially around London, and shifted industrial location to such as the ‘M4 corridor’, and in the cities divided communities in ways unknown since the railway. Urban routes led to protest, starting in London's western suburbs over the M4, visible in the destruction of southern Leeds in the 1970s, and developing with the green movement in the 1980s. Space and resource requirements for motorways, their access roads, and service areas were high, around £2 million per mile in 1970, and attracted increasing public criticism as the road transport lobby demanded further investment. In the 1990s, toll- and traffic-charged private finance has been employed to escape the constraints of ‘public expenditure’, a return to the project of 1938.

J. A. Chartres

views updated

motorway •Kabwe • hatchway • trackway •tramway • gangway • Yahweh •archway • parkway • pathway •headway • segue • expressway •airway, fairway, stairway •railway • gateway •freeway, keyway, leeway, seaway •speedway • breezeway • Midway •ridgeway •shipway, slipway •Kitwe • alleyway • Hemingway •anyway • carriageway • entryway •steerageway • taxiway • passageway •byway, highway, skyway •guideway, tideway •bridleway • Steinway • driveway •Otway •doorway, Norway •Broadway • walkway •Galway, hallway •causeway • roadway • throughway •sluiceway • footway • subway •someway • runway • clearway •areaway • flyaway •stowaway, throwaway •hideaway • foldaway •breakaway, takeaway •galloway • rollaway •colourway (US colorway), mulloway •Greenaway • Stornoway • runaway •caraway • tearaway • castaway •getaway • straightaway • waterway •motorway • cutaway • Hathaway •giveaway • companionway • sternway