The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of November 8, 1996
Facts about . . . the London highway M-25, popularly known as the "Road to Hell."
CURWOOD: It's 117 miles long and called the world's largest parking lot. It's not an L.A. freeway or the Long Island Expressway, but M-25, a highway that circumnavigates London. M-25 opened 10 years ago as the longest bypass in the world and is still Europe's busiest road. Some 700,000 cars use it during morning rush hour. Despite heavy traffic, the M-25 has only 3 lanes on each side, which might explain its legendary stall-outs. According to an engineer who helped to design the road, the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher didn't want to pay more to accommodate increased demand. The M-25 has rarely been out of the headlines. A police car once had to rescue an elderly woman who somehow ended up cycling the wrong way down an outside lane. And a few years ago, a gentleman named William Allen spent 2 days circling London on the motorway after getting lost on the way to his daughter's house. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
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