The M27 motorway has simply never had a Junction 6. Motorists heading east from Junction 5 find themselves jumping straight to Junction 7.

Many Southampton residents - and motorists passing through Hampshire from further afield - will have questioned the reason for this peculiar system.

We've dug into the history of the motorway to find out the reason.

Traffic congestion in Southampton and Fareham, especially from holidaymakers on weekends, became a major problem in the 1950s.

The solution came in the form of a motorway bypassing the towns to connect them directly and the route was designed as a series of linked bypasses.

The M27 was built in stages between 1975 and 1983 and was opened from west to east, starting with Junction 1 near Cadnam and reaching Portsmouth by 1983.

There was an ambition for the M27 to be a longer motorway, stretching further east into West Sussex. However, this extension was never built and the A27 was used instead.

Hampshire Chronicle: M27 motorway.

Plans also existed for smaller motorways connecting directly to Southampton and Portsmouth city centres; the former would be connected to the M27 at Junction 6.

The original plan was for a motorway spur, a mini-motorway called the M273, that would have branched off from the M27 and headed towards the centre of Southampton.

The route would have provided a more direct route to the city centre, passing through the Townhill Park area.

However, this spur never ended up being constructed and there are currently no plans to revisit the idea of building Junction 6 or the M273 spur.