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The UK's Shortest Motorway That Public Will Never Drive On

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The UK's Shortest Motorway That Public Will Never Drive On

The M96 is the shortest motorway in the UK - but you won't ever get to drive it.

If you think of 'Gloucestershire' and 'motorways', the chances are you'd be thinking of the M5, the near 163 mile-long stretch of road that links the West Midlands to the south coast of Devon, via places like Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol.

You might even think of the M50, which at 21 miles long is much shorter and travels in south Wales.

But did you know about the M96? A four-lane motorway deep in the Cotswolds, it's just 496 metres long and shockingly sees more crashes on it yearly than either the M5 or M50 put together.

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Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK
Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK

There's a reason for this, though, and it's because the M96 isn't in fact a public motorway.

Instead, it's a mini mock motorway based at a Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh. Its purpose is to train blue light emergency workers in how to deal with major traffic incidents, which means you're unlikely to drive on it any time soon.

Unless you're training to be in the emergency services.

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Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK
Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK

The Fire Service College says: "The M96 facility is regularly used to train helicopter emergency personnel and newly qualified paramedics, as well as fire and rescue service personnel in multi-agency exercises.

"The motorway has the capacity to run several incidents at one time. It can be used by any agency that works in the road industry and would like to train in a safe realistic way."

Among those that use the facility include West Mercia Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire Service, as well as West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service.

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Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK
Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK

The privacy of the stretch of road means that horrific crashes are able to be simulated to help prepare emergency services for the worst.

These can include multi-vehicle pile-ups with lorries, cars and buses, with volunteers playing the part of motorists and pedestrians caught up in the fake crashes - which, in a grim sort of way, sounds quite fun actually.

Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK
Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK
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As for the longest motorway in the UK, the RAC, has it listed as the M6, which runs from Catthorpe, Leicestershire to Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire and is 236 miles long.

Anyone who's tried to drive it between Birmingham and Manchester on a Friday afternoon can attest that those 236 miles can feel like they're all situated within this stretch.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Twitter/JenOnTheMoveUK

Topics: UK News, Driving, Roads

Simon Catling
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