Total Length: 1.6km (1.0 miles)
Location: From M2 junction 4 to A8 Corr's Corner
The A8(M) is the first mile of the A8 road to Larne. To understand why this little bit is motorway, we need to delve into history. Back when the North Approach was planned, a project which became the M2, the road was to run from Glengormley to Belfast. Later, it was decided to run the M2 as far as Ballymena via Doagh. This would have followed the route of the A8(M) and so, when the first portion of the M2 was built (junctions 2 to 4) the bit to Corr's Corner was also built. However, half way through the project it was decided that the Doagh route was too geologically challenging and instead the M2 would go via Antrim to the west. But this little bit was built anyway and given the name A8(M) in order to tell it apart from the actual M2. See Multimap for a view of it.
In a good-natured jibe, CBRD refers to the A8(M) as "arguably the most pointless... [motorway] in the UK". CBRD is right. Think about why motorway restrictions are imposed:
- If a road leads inevitably onto a motorway it must also be a motorway.
- In order to ensure that all junctions are grade-separated for safety.
- To prevent slow vehicles using it that would delay or endanger other road users.
In the case of the A8(M), the roads at either end are not motorways (Corr's Corner and Sandyknowes roundabout) so the first reason is invalid. The A8(M) has no other junctions between its termini, so reason two is invalid. Finally, the A8(M) is so short that slow vehicles would have no opportunity to get in the way.
So, yes, the A8(M) is probably unjustified as a motorway.
At least it's not illegal though, unlike the M12 at Portadown....
Junction map on CBRD.
A8(M) on Pathetic Motorways.
History of motorways.
|M2 junction 4 to Corr's Corner on A8
||24 Oct 1966
The start of the A8(M) seen looking north from Sandyknowes roundabout. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]
The end of the A8(M) seen looking north from the top of the hill shown in the previous picture. Steel central barriers have been added since this picture was taken. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]