It is forty years since cars first rolled onto the M27 motorway. 

The 25 mile long motorway runs between Cadnam on the edge of the New Forest, skirts the top of Southampton and eventually reaches Portsmouth in the East. It is fed by the M3 which brings traffic from the M25 and the rest of the UK road network.

It is undoubtedly a significant birthday, but there is a suggestion that it is not actually finished.

The birthday is only really relevant to the first part of the motorway which opened in August 1975 between junctions one and two. It was open as far as junction four by December 1975 with the whole length being finally accesible by 1983.

Folklore suggests that the original plan for the M27 was for some sort of south coast superhighway, linking to the major trunk roads in the west and stretching all the way to the channel ports at Dover, giving a clear run from the west country to the continent. The Pathetic Motorways website, which is a brilliant resource for time wasting road trivia, says this was never really the case.

Such a proposal was mentioned by the Institution of Highway Engineers in 1936, but it was never aired beyond that. One reason would be the viability of such an expensive road building project, but also the difficulty of bulldozing a path through both the New Forest and Dartmoor National Parks would be sensitive, both politically and environmentally.