The M96 is only 400 metres long and has seen more crashes and traffic incidents than major routes because it is a mini “mock motorway” used to train emergency services workers.
This is the secret motorway you’ve probably never heard of, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the M5.
The M96 is in the Cotswolds and less than 20 miles away from the M5 and M50.
It has four lanes, but the public will never get to drive on it – because it is only 400 metres long.
The M96 has also seen more crashes and traffic incidents than its bigger neighbours and is well known by 999 services across England.
That is because it is a mini “mock motorway” at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucs., and is used to train blue light emergency workers in how to deal with major traffic incidents.
West Mercia Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire Service, as well as West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service all use the M96 for training.
Horrific crashes are simulated to help prepare emergency services for the worst.
Some simulations involve multi-vehicle pile-ups with lorries, cars and buses, and volunteers play the part of motorists and pedestrians caught up in the fake crashes.
This is to help blue light emergency workers train in a realistic and safe environment.
The Fire Service College describes the M96 as a realistic four-lane motorway – albeit a lot shorter.
It 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. “
The M96 often comes up in quizzes as being the UK’s shortest motorway – although the “real” smallest motorway is the A308(M) which runs off the M4 in Berkshire and is just 0.6 miles in length.
In comparison, the M5 is 160 miles and the M50 is 22 miles. The longest motorway is the M6, at 236 miles in length.