Where's this then?
There's no M15 in London!
I know that...
Let me guess - Unbuilt?
Yes, you've got it. Well, almost got it...
OK, the M15 was supposed to be the upgraded North Circular Road or Ringway 2, part of the famous "London Ringways" project. It was penciled in, but was cancelled at the last minute (a partial scan of a document referring to the M15 can be seen here). Or was it?
The North Circular upgrade still happened, but to a slightly lower standard (only slightly!) as A406. South of the A12, it used the line of the then-cancelled M15 project. There's even some very strange restictions on it, as can be seen to the right...
But, the section of M15 between the A12 and the end of the M11 had already been built!
It was shown on maps as M11, and the junction at the A12 was given a junction number of 3, which seemingly fits into the numbering of the M11. But the M11 was supposed to go further into London, and meet the A102(M) at Hackney Wick, not turn south.
So why was it shown as part of the M11?
Simply, that once you were on the M15, you had no choice but to take the M11, meaning that using the real number on signs or maps would have been pointless. Equally, before the northern links from the M11 were built, it simply flowed straight into the M15, meaning that from that direction the number was also superfluous.
So what was supposed to happen north of the M11?
To be honest, I don't know. I suspect it was to take the route taken by the "new" A406, but I can find no documentary evidence of this fact.
And what about south of the river?
Ringway 2 was certainly supposed to continue south of the river (and an excellent piece on the southern sections of Ringway 2 can be found on CBRD), but no mention of the M15 number is used in connection with these plans. I rather suspect that a different number was to have been used, as can be seen today in the differing numbers of the North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205).
Can you show me where it was supposed to be on a map?
Can I see some photos?
Can I comment on this motorway?
Of course! Contact me and I'll put them here!
Have any other visitors commented?
Sunil Prasannan has a thought about the standard of the A406:
I think the A406 was built to a markedly lower standard than what the M15 should have been, particularly in regard to flyovers at junctions: the Charlie Brown's, Redbridge, Ilford (A118 junction) and Barking (A124 junction) flyovers are only D2. I don't think the M15 would have had lane drops at any of these junctions (except perhaps the Charlie Brown bit).
I find the North Circular a mish-mash of different roads huddled together as a ring road, ranging from decent dual and 3 lane carriageway to single and dual carriageway through residential areas, with traffic lights and gyratory schemes thrown in (Hangar Lane). The speed limits are also daft in parts, with badly placed cameras. In parts you really need to watch everything that is going on around you. Rather mysterious are an awful lot of boarded-up houses along the route - possible future upgrades perhaps?
Someone who wishes to remain nameless writes [Oct 08]:
I can confirm that the section of M15 (M11) between the NCR and Redbridge Roundabout did indeed have two lanes and a hard shoulder when it opened in the seventies. when the South Woodford to Barking Relief Road opened the Hard Shoulder (as per your photos) was taken in as carriageway ant the "end of motoway" sign was moved north from Redbridge Roundabout thereby shortening the M11 by half a mile or so.