M48 (old M4 Severn crossing)

By Martyn Hicks

Originally this motorway was a section of the M4 over the original Severn Bridge before the new Second Severn Crossing was opened in 1996, and was a very busy route especially in the summer holiday season. Now the M48 is a rather more quiet two-lane motorway as the M4 takes through traffic away to the south over the stunning looking new bridge. Taking a journey into Wales... a new junction 21 of the M4 was created at the bottom of the hill after the Almondsbury interchange with the M5 and the M48 peels off towards the old Severn Bridge. Junction 1 is the A403 turnoff for Avonmouth and also provides access to the Severn View service area. These services have seem a dramatic falloff of customers since the new bridge opened, and at one point were due to close and be turned into business units. However, at the moment it is still a service area and has a viewing area offering marvellous views of the old bridge and the River Severn. The bridge charges a toll (which has seen steep increases over the past few years) to west-bound traffic just after J1 and has eight toll booths. The bridge itself looks resplendent in its white paint with blue rails and street lamps. There is a foot and cycle path across the bridge for the fitter amongst us! When crossing the bridge into Wales the new bridge can be seen to the left. Then a smaller bridge across the River Wye takes us into Wales. The crossing of the Severn and Wye rivers is 3 miles and Junction 2 arrives giving access to Chepstow and the breathtaking Wye Valley. The M48 then meanders through Welsh countryside before merging once again with the M4 at junction 23, a total distance of 12 miles.

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