M45 motorway

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A bridge carrying disused Great Central Railway is in the distance.
One of the original Owen Williams bridges

The M45 is a motorway in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, and is just under eight miles long. It runs from junction 17 of the M1 motorway south east of Rugby and ends with a junction with the A45 road south-west of Rugby. It has one of the lowest traffic volumes of the United Kingdom motorway system.


Built in 1959 when the M1 (as part of a link from London to Birmingham) went as far as Junction 18, the M45 was designed to dissipate some of the motorway traffic before the M1 terminated.[1] Its equivalent at the southern end of the M1 is the former M10, which was downgraded on 1 May 2009 to become part of the A414.

As the signposted route to Birmingham, accompanied by a boom on private motor ownership in the 1960s, the M45 (and its effective continuation, the final 30 miles or so along the predominantly dual carriageway A45), formed a key leg of one of the busiest roads in Britain.[2]

In 1972, the opening of the M6 parallel to the north provided a much faster route through to the West Midlands from London. Most traffic diverted to this route, and since January 1991[3] additional West Midlands traffic, whether to the south of that region, or from the south side of London has often used the M40 motorway parallel to the south, leaving the route with only a fraction of its previous traffic.

A limited-access junction (Eastbound exit and Westbound entry) was added in September 1991[4] around two-thirds of the way along from the M1, south of Dunchurch, the main southern suburban village (to Rugby) nearby. Apart from this, the motorway is very much in its 'as-built' condition and unlike its feeder motorway, the M1 its land use has not expanded, in a county that has three motorways running east-west almost wholly across it, Warwickshire. The choice of routes means that logistics operations are an important part of the economy of Coventry and Rugby.


M45 motorway junctions
miles Northbound exits (A carriageway) Junction Southbound exits (B carriageway)
7.7 Coventry, Rugby, A45
Dunchurch B4429
J1 Start of motorway
6.0 No access Daventry A45
0.1 Start of motorway M1, J17 The south, Northampton M1


  1. "The Motorway Archive Scheme Page". Iht.org. http://www.iht.org/motorway/m1m10m45.htm. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. "M45 at the motorway database". Cbrd.co.uk. http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m45/. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. [1]
  4. Steven Jukes. "Pathetic Motorways – M45". Pathetic.org.uk. http://www.pathetic.org.uk/current/m45/. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about M45 motorway)
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