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Drivers rate M20 as worst motorway in England

The road scored particularly badly for the quality of its surface.

A view of the M20 motorway near Maidstone in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A view of the M20 motorway near Maidstone in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

England’s least popular motorway is the M20 in Kent, according to major new research.

A survey of drivers by watchdog Transport Focus found that the link between the ports at Dover and the M25 has an overall satisfaction rating of just 65%.

The road scored particularly badly for the quality of its surface at 59%.

One respondent described it as “bumpy, uncomfortable to drive on” while another said it is “full of potholes”.

The results show where Highways England should focus its efforts Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith

Drivers on the M20 have suffered disruption in recent months as one section is being converted into a smart motorway, while temporary barriers have also been installed as part of Brexit preparations.

It is the first time Transport Focus has published the findings of its new Strategic Roads User Survey, which covers motorways and major A-roads managed by Highways England.

Other roads near the bottom of the ranking were:

– The M6 (72%) which runs from the West Midlands to Cumbria
– The A52 (72%) in the East Midlands
– The M25 (76%) which orbits London
– The A34 (76%) which Highways England manages between Hampshire and Oxfordshire

England’s best major road, according to the survey of more than 8,500 road users, is the A19 (95%) in the North East, which was praised for having “no major holds ups” and giving “no stress” to drivers.

The highest ranked motorway is the M11 (92%) which links London with Cambridgeshire, while the average satisfaction score across the whole Strategic Road Network was 82%.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “The Strategic Roads User Survey gives Highways England the most robust picture ever at a national, regional and individual road level of driver satisfaction on the motorways and major A roads that it manages.

“This survey reflects the experience of all drivers – whether in cars, vans, lorries, coaches or on a motorbike – across a range of key issues.

“The results show where Highways England should focus its efforts to maximise satisfaction, including reducing delays arising from accidents and improving user experience with journey time and road surface quality.”

Highways England customer service director Pete Martin said: “We care about people using our network and value independent research like this, alongside our own, which helps us to further understand how road users feel.

“We are pleased this research shows the majority of motorists are satisfied, but we are not complacent and will continue to work hard to help every driver have safer and smoother journeys to the people and places that matter most to them.”

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