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M32 'like dagger thrust' into city
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An archive report says the M32 is a 'dagger thrust' into the heart of Bristol

Motorways in the UK are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month, but Bristol's M32 did not begin to make an appearance for another eight years.

With the M4 already in place, construction on the new 'Bristol Parkway' road was well under way by the mid-1960s.

A BBC report from the time describes the M32 as a "dagger thrust into the heart of the city".

It eventually opened in three stages and cost more than 16m.

A dagger was an accurate description of the M32 which would turn out to be one of the biggest changes for Bristol in recent history.

"The new road will wraith its way down into Broadmead bringing motorists in the centre within minutes of the M4," says the report.

"The motorway will wind through open country west of Frenchay and through some of the lovely fields around Stoke Park."

Motorway viaduct

But some of the biggest changes for Bristol would come as the new road met with housing in the city.

"There will be even more dramatic changes when the road hits the built-up areas," says the report.

"Clipping off the west side of Eastville Park at Glenfrome Road the Parkway will cross the River Frome on supports and continue above ground level as a viaduct all the way down Stapleton Road."

The first stage of the M32 - from the M4 to the Avon Ring Road - eventually opened in 1966, with the next two sections opening in 1970 and 1975.

With the emergence of new shopping centre Cabot Circus there are further changes afoot for the motorway.

New bus lanes are planned along the final section of the road from the St Paul's junction.


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