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Facts About the M1 Motorway

Our M1 "interesting facts" page we feature many of the interesting facts about the M1 motorway.

M1 Motorway Facts & History

The first section of the M1 opened in 1959 and the motorway was completed in 1999.

The M1 is one of the UK's busiest motorways running from London in the South to Leeds in the north of England.

The M1 is just over 194 miles long and has 48 Junctions.

In March 1972, 200 vehicles crashed north of Luton on the M1 in thick fog resulting in 9 deaths.

On 8 January 1989, 47 passengers on a Boeing 737 died when it crashed onto the embankment of the M1 whilst attempting an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire.

On 6 September 1997, large sections of the northbound M1 carriageway were closed between London and Althorp, Northamptonshire to allow for the funeral procession of Diana, Princess of Wales. Police allowed pedestrians onto the normally busy M1 northbound carriageway almost the entire length of the route to pay their respects.

In 2002, a section of the M1 near Milton Keynes was cleared using mobile police roadblocks to allow for filming of the movie 28 Days Later.

On 11 December 2005, an 18 mile stretch of the M1 motorway was closed entirely during the morning following a major explosion and fire at the Buncefield Oil Depot which is less than half a mile from the M1 (We heard it and remember it well we thought a plane had crashed due to the amount of smoke covering the sky!).

In June 2007, the section of M1 between Junctions 32 and 36 was closed for a number of days after the Ulley Reservoir developed cracks after being deluged by floods.

In August 2008 part of the M1 motorway close to Tinsley Viaduct was closed to allow safe demolition of the Tinsley cooling towers.

On 15 April 2011, a seven mile stretch of the M1 was closed between Junctions 1 and 4 due to a fire at a scrap yard underneath the motorway. The road was fully re-opened early on 21 April 2011 with a 50 mph speed limit in force whilst repair work continued to an elevated section.

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