M32 motorway

M32 shield

Location of the M32 in Bristol (in blue)
The M32 between junctions 2 and 1, heading northwards
Route information
Length4.4 mi (7.1 km)
HistoryConstructed 1966 – 1975:
  • M4 – J1 (1966)
  • J1 – J2 (1970)
  • J2 – J3 (1975)
Major junctions
 Junction 19.svg UK-Motorway-M4.svg
J19 → M4 motorway
ToSt Pauls
Road network

The M32 is a motorway in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, England, which at roughly 4.4 miles (7.1 km) is one of Britain's shortest. It provides a link from the M4, a major motorway linking London and South Wales, to Bristol city centre and is maintained by Highways England, the national roads body.

The motorway was planned concurrently with the M4 in the 1960s, and construction was complete to Eastville in northeast Bristol by 1970. The southernmost section was delayed by engineering challenges and industrial action, and did not open until 1975. Since the mid-2000s, there have been plans to use the M32 as part of a park and ride facility which would reduce congestion in Bristol.

Though the M32 has a small traffic flow, it is one of the most congested motorways in the region as it connects a number of key areas. As well as providing one of the few high-quality routes into the centre of Bristol, it is the only significant link from the M4 to the A4174 Bristol Ring Road. Parts of the M32 are reaching the end of their intended lifespan, leading to reduced speed limits and occasional closures for remedial work. Local residents have criticised the M32, complaining that it has severed communities and has an unacceptable noise level.


The northern section of the M32 connects to the M4 at a modified roundabout.

The M32 is 4.4 miles (7.1 km) long. Its northern end is at junction 19 of the M4, near Winterbourne Down.[1] Originally a grade separated roundabout junction, it was modified in 1992 to remove conflicting traffic movements in order to increase capacity.[2]

The motorway then runs south between Filton in the west and Frenchay in the east. After meeting the A4174 ring road at junction 1, it crosses the boundary from South Gloucestershire to Bristol, passing to the east of Horfield, Lockleaze and Easton. Junction 2, next to Eastville Park, meets the B4469 providing access to Horfield.[1] Midway through, a 40 mph (64 km/h) speed limit begins.[3] The motorway continues further south and ends just beyond junction 3, north of St Paul's. A dual carriageway continues as the A4032 into the centre of Bristol, with a 40 mph (64 km/h) speed limit.[4]

The M32 is a trunk road, therefore its maintenance and upkeep is paid for by Highways England, the national roads authority.[5] Most of the road has two lanes in each direction, though an extended sliproad north of junction 2 provides a climbing lane,[6] and the short section between junction 1 and the M4 has three lanes both ways.[7]

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