The Great British motorway to celebrate 50th birthday in style

Put the date December 5th 2008 in your diary – it’s the day when the Great British motorway celebrates its 50th birthday.

Yes, almost 50 years ago the Preston By-Pass, now part of the M6 in Lancashire, was opened by the prime minister, Harold MacMillan, the man who famously made the speech telling Brits that "they’d never had it so good".

This new-style road marked the start of a new era of safer, more reliable road travel for people and goods.

And the milestone anniversary of the motorway won’t go unmarked as there will be a series of events and activities to highlight the economic and personal benefits that the UK has reaped from its motorway system.

The events’ organisers will also provide the opportunity to consider the challenges of improving and increasing the safe capacity of the network while meeting today’s standards of environmental protection.

John Wootton, chairman of the 50th Anniversary Group, said: "The motorways are a great engineering achievement, have contributed massively to the economic growth of the country, proven to be safer than other roads and will remain Britain’s most important transport infrastructure into the distant future."

Written by Stephen Eagle

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