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Introduction

Anyone who studies a road map of the Midlands would be excused from wondering why a short length of motorway running through the rural areas of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire was ever required let alone built. Even today, over 40 years since it was opened, it remains a delight to drive on with comparatively little traffic using it. The reason for this lies behind a pre-war vision that there was a need to connect the steel manufacturing centres of South Wales with the metal bashing industries of Birmingham and the Black Country. After the war, the then County Surveyor of Worcestershire was keen to see a new major road built between Cardiff and Birmingham and with the counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire pushing for a link between A449 at Ross and the A38 North of Tewksbury, the M50/M5 was spawned.

In an endeavour to get things moving after the war, the three counties took on teams of civil engineers who were being de-mobilised from the army. Detailed survey, route location and earthworks design commenced. For design purposes the project, as it affected Worcestershire and Herefordshire was divided up as follows-

North - South (M5) Quinton (J3) - Lydiate Ash (J4) (not originally part of M50/M6 strategy)

North - South (M5) Lydiate Ash (J4) - Strensham (J8)

The northern limit of M5 in Worcestershire was at Quinton with the Southern limit at Twyning on the Gloucestershire border.