M27 Portsmouth - Chichester

What's this doing here? Surely you can't claim that the M27 is pathetic?

Not at all.

However, there is one small part of it that could be said to be...

Oh? What's that?

The missing bit!

What missing bit?

Well, it doesn't go as far to the east as originally planned.

Oh, hang on a minute - is that the massive bit of A27 between the M275 and the A3(M)?

Well, that's certainly part of it. If you can't remember what it looks like, there's some photos here.

There are several theories as to why that section isn't motorway itself - ranging from the hard shoulders being a few inches too narrow (which is ironic as there are no hard shoulders at the eastern end of the M27), to there being no alternative route for non-motorway traffic - which is rubbish, as the old A27 is just to the north and quite frankly, anyone who tries to cycle down this great huge road is just asking for trouble.

What is for sure is that it was certainly planned to be part of M27.

I see. Mind you, that's fairly well-known.

Yes, but what isn't so well known is the fact that the next section along, between the A3(M) and the Chichester Bypass was also planned to be part of the M27.

It's got flyovers and everything, but it's only a plain two-lane dual carriageway.

It certainly is - although it's right on the planned line of M27. This section of motorway was cancelled in 1977-78 and replaced with the all-purpose road that is there today.

Hang on a minute - I heard that the M27 was planned to go from Exeter to Dover (or Brighton)?

That's an urban myth.

There is absolutely no evidence that such a route was ever planned seriously by the Ministry.

The only evidence yet found supporting that theory was that in 1936, the Institute of Highways Engineers suggested a network of motorways which included one across the south of the country, though north of the current M27 between the Taunton area, across near Winchester and ending at Dover. It was almost instantly rejected by the Government.

Can you prove what you're saying?

Well, how about a strip map from 1975 showing the full proposed M27 route?

Can I comment on this motorway?

Of course! Contact me and I'll put them here!

Have any other visitors commented?

Sib comments [Dec 07]:

Your comments on the M27 extending further east are interesting, I have lived in the area ever since moving here to work as a Civil Engineer on the M27, then for a bit on the A3(M).

If the 4 lane section across Farlington Marshes was ever a motorway the alternative non motorway route would have needed serious work on it, both Drayton and Cosham would have needed to be demolished.

When the A27 was extended east to Chichester a lot of money was saved by not having to build full width hard shoulders.

The South Eastern Road Construction Unit, they were the people that designed and supervised the construction of motorways in those days had some very strange ideas. The 4 lane section across Farlington Marshes is one, this is a crazy section of road, at the end of the M27 at Cosham those in the know wanting to go to Chichester start positioning yourself in the middle lane, this includes lorries, buses etc., because the 4 way section becomes an intricate and deadly game of chicken, the slower traffic has to cross a lane of fast moving traffic to get in the right lane for Chichester and the faster traffic has to cross a lane of slower weaving traffic to get on to the A3(M).

Another strange one by the SERC has the road markings on the M275 coming north out of Portsmouth. It is a 3 lane section motorway, the options were bear left for local traffic and the M27, bear right for the A27 / A3(M). The road marking were the outside lane was the effectively the slip road to go east. Thankfully after 25 years this was now been changed and the markings are as one would expect, the slip roads peel off to the left.

Someone who wants to remain anonymous adds [July 08]:

I can only comment that in 1965 / 1966 when I used to drive my dad's Morris Oxford from Sussex to visit my sister in Havant, I distinctly remember quite a few signs along the road advising of 'Major Trunk Road Improvements - Folkeston to Honiton'. While no road number was  given, I wonder if that's where the 'myth' of an M27 running all the way emanates from?

Ben Adams comments [July 08]:

The 'reasons' stated for not making the section up the A3(M) not motorway standards are frankly ungrounded as I think we can all name a motorway where the rules appear to have been forgotten!

I doubt we will ever see the motorway running into Chichester but it would be nice to see it being reclassified up until the junction with the A3 (M).

Simon says [Oct 08]:

The planned extension towards Chichester is the same as where the A27 goes now with the A259 taking over from the old A27.

It's as good as motorway, all they have to do is change the signs to blue and get rid of those route confirmations signs every mile on it.


Portsmouth -





14 miles

22 km


As A27



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