M27 motorway

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Looking down onto the M27 from Portsdown Hill
M27 Between junctions 5 and 7 (there is no junction 6)

The M27 is a 25-mile motorway in Hampshire. It runs west-east from Cadnam to Portsmouth. It was opened in stages between 1975 and 1983. It is unfinished, as an extension to the east was planned.[1] A number of smaller motorways were proposed, connecting the city centres of Southampton and Portsmouth to the motorway;[2] of these only the M271 and M275 were built. Two sections of the M27 have since been widened to four lanes each way, the first between Junctions 7 and 8, and the second between Junctions 3 and 4.


Running approximately parallel both to the coast of the Solent and to the A27, the M27 starts as an eastwards continuation of the A31 from Bournemouth and Poole, meets the A36 from Salisbury, crosses the Wessex Main Line railway, and then meets the M271 to central Southampton. After the M271, the road becomes a dual four-lane motorway and passes Rownhams services, then meets the M3, (two lanes going off, two lanes continuing to the other side of the junction) reverting to a dual three-lane motorway as it passes to the north of Southampton. It then passes Southampton Airport, meeting Junction 7 and becomes dual four lanes again, then three lanes after Junction 8. It then runs alongside the West Coastway Line as it heads south-east towards Fareham. It then runs alongside the northern outskirts of Fareham, briefly with a fourth climbing lane in either direction, before its junction with the M275 to Portsmouth. Very shortly after this point the motorway ends, becoming the A27, a four-lane dual carriageway almost to motorway standards until the junction with the A3(M) Motorway.


Opening dates

The M27 was opened in stages (in common with many UK motorways) between 1975 and 1983.[3]

  • Junction 1 to 2 opened 20 August 1975
  • Junction 2 to 4 opened in December 1975
  • Junction 4 to 7 opened in 1983
  • Junction 7 to 8 opened in February 1978
  • Junction 8 to 12 opened in March 1976

The South Stoneham Crematorium, which was located north of South Stoneham Cemetery, was demolished during 1973 to make way for the construction of the M27 motorway. The South Stoneham garden of remembrance is now located at the north end of the cemetery, adjacent to the motorway.[4]

Unfulfilled plans

It has been said that the M27 was intended as a motorway connecting south coast towns from Penzance to Ramsgate.[5] However the only proposal of a route similar to that was by the Institution of Highway Engineers in 1936.[1][6][7] Road developments in the New Forest are also restricted due to its National Park status.

The M27 was meant to be extended to Chichester; a sign of this is the width of the A27 road between Junction 12 and the junction with the A3(M), which has 3/4 lanes, a hard shoulder and grade-separated junctions. It is not part of the M27 as its hard shoulders are not quite wide enough to comply with motorway regulations.[1][8]

The M272 was meant to go from Junction 5 through Portswood to the centre of Southampton. The M272 was instead built (in much reduced form) as the A335 Thomas Lewis Way.

Junction 6 was never built – there were plans for a motorway spur (probably to be numbered M273) connecting the M27 to the centre of the Townhill Park area of Southampton.[2]

A planned service area just east of Junction 9 was never constructed. The long westbound exit slip road at Junction 9 was designed to allow an entry to and exit from the service area.[9]


M27 motorway junctions
miles Westbound exits (B carriageway) Junction Eastbound exits (A carriageway) Coordinates
Road continues as A31 to The WEST, Poole, Bournemouth and Ringwood Terminus
Cadnam A336, Brook, Bramshaw B3079, Lyndhurst A337
50°55’14"N, 1°35’22"W
The New Forest, Cadnam, Lyndhurst A337
Start of motorway
Salisbury A36, Fawley A326 J2 Salisbury, Romsey A36, Fawley A326 50°56’45"N, 1°31’46"W
Southampton, The Docks M271(S), Romsey M271(N) J3 Southampton, The Docks M271 50°56’45"N, 1°28’35"W
Rownhams Services Services Rownhams Services 50°57’26"N, 1°26’57"W
The MIDLANDS, London, Winchester M3 J4 The MIDLANDS, London, Winchester M3 50°57’14"N, 1°24’28"W
Southampton, Eastleigh, Airport 20 airtransportation.svg A335 J5 Southampton, Eastleigh, Airport 20 airtransportation.svg A335 50°56’58"N, 1°22’16"W
style="background: #ffdddd; color: black; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="table-no2" | No connection J6 Planned junction for the unbuilt M273
Hedge End A334 J7 Hedge End, Botley A334 50°55’1"N, 1°19’3"W
Southampton, Hamble, East Docks A3024 J8 Southampton (E), Hamble A3024 50°53’54"N, 1°18’44"W
Fareham (W) A27, Whiteley J9 Fareham (W) A27, Whiteley 50°52’28"N, 1°15’9"W
Alton A32 J10 No exit 50°52’0"N, 1°10’56"W
Fareham (C) A27, Gosport (A32) J11 Fareham (C) A27, Gosport (A32) 50°51’36"N, 1°9’27"W
Portsmouth, Ferries M275 J12 Cosham, Paulsgrove, Hilsea A27, Portsmouth (W), Ferries M275 50°50’32"N, 1°5’34"W
29.0 Start of motorway Terminus No exit, access to A3 via J12 50°55’14"N, 1°35’22"W
Cosham A3(N), Hilsea A3(S) Road continues as A27 to Havant, Portsmouth (E), Brighton and London (A3(M))]]
  • Distances and carriageway identifiers are obtained from driver location signs/location marker posts. Where a junction spans several hundred yards and the data is available, both the start and finish values for the junction are shown.

Nearby attractions

Junction 1 is about a mile (a mile and a half by road) from The Rufus Stone, where King William II, also known as William Rufus, was killed in what may have been a hunting accident in 1100.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "M27 Portsmouth-Chichester". Pathetic Motorways. http://www.pathetic.org.uk/unfinished/m27/. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Overall plans for the city". http://chris-roads.fotopic.net/p8364519.html. Retrieved 27 January 2007. 
  3. "M27 – The South Coast Motorway and A3(M) Statistics and options". The Motorway Archive Trust. http://www.iht.org/motorway/m27scmstat.htm. Retrieved 27 January 2007. 
  4. "South Stoneham Cemetery". Southampton City Council. 13 November 2009. http://www.southampton.gov.uk/living/cremburial/sotoncemetries/Southstone.aspx. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  5. Marshall, Chris; Le Poidevin, Nigel; McGuire, Dave; Denson, James. "CBRD Motorway Database – M27". http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m27/. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  6. "Appendix A". The post war development of highways. Institution of Highway Engineers. 1943. 
  7. Charlesworth, George (1984). "2". A history of British Motorways. London EC1: Thomas Telford Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7277-0159-6. 
  8. "M27 – The South Coast Motorway, M271, M275 and A3(M)". http://www.iht.org/motorway/m27scoastm.htm. Retrieved 25 January 2007. "The land acquired for this stretch of the motorway was not quite wide enough – by less than a foot – and the Chief Highway Engineer of the day, quite rightly if a little pedantically, ruled that it didn’t conform to motorway standards and must therefore be an all-purpose trunk road." 
  9. "Meon Valley". Motorway services online. http://motorwayservicesonline.co.uk/unbuilt/meon/. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  10. As measured on Google Maps

Outside links

Motorways in the United Kingdom

Great Britain: M1  • M2  • M3  • M4  • M5  • M6  • M6 Toll  • M8  • M9  • M10  • M11  • M18  • M20  • M23  • M25  • M26  • M27  • M32  • M40  • M42  • M45  • M48  • M49  • M50  • M53  • M54  • M55  • M56  • M57  • M58  • M60  • M61  • M62  • M63  • M65  • M66  • M67  • M69  • M73  • M74  • M77  • M80  • M85  • M90  • M180  • M181  • M271  • M275  • M602  • M606  • M621  • M876  • M898  • Sections of A road: A1(M)

Former motorways marked in italics

Northern Ireland: M1  • M2  • M3  • M5  • M12  • M22