M3 Junctions 2-4a: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Current


Start date:   Autumn 2014
End date:  Main works: winter 2016


Type:   Major Scheme
help icon

Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  Between £138 million and £198 million


-

M3 junctions 2 to 4a

The first phase of traffic management was installed at the end of 2014 with the main construction work starting in January 2015.

Following on from the completion of the mobilisation works, the following activities have been carried out between junctions 3 to 4 on the westbound carriageway:

  • installation of Electrical Inlet cabinets
  • removal of the central reserve metal barrier and construction of the new barrier footings, including drainage
  • commence installation of the new central reserve concrete barrier (safety upgrade)
  • removal of old concrete posts from central reserve and verges
  • construction of piling platforms to allow us to carry out piling activities safely
  • piling walls put in for new Emergency Refuge Areas
  • de-watering in the verges to allow the for construction activities (high water table)
  • installation of gantry footings and frames

For further information regarding the recent work undertaken, please refer to the latest scheme newsletter. This can be found under the publications tab.

The next phase of works, due to commence once works to the central reserve area between Strandways Bridge and the Maultways have been completed, will be to move the traffic management to the hardshoulder on the westbound verge. Once work is complete, construction will move to the eastbound carriageway.

Further information regarding how the traffic management will affect travel can be found on the Journey Impact page.

A new approach to delivering road works

You may have noticed a few new signs appearing on the scheme recently. This is due to the project taking part in a trial to make road works simpler and clearer for people to drive through.

For more information please visit the Traffic Information page.

What is happening?

We are currently making improvements to the M3 by constructing a smart motorway between junctions 2 and 4a (13.4 miles / 21.6km). The aim of smart motorways is to help relieve congestion by using technology to control traffic flows, to assist in the management of incidents and provide information to road users. They deliver these benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening and with less impact on the environment during construction. This is achieved by converting the existing hard shoulder to a permanent running lane. Find out more about smart motorways by following this link smart motorways

We are aware of concerns being raised by residents living close to the project route regarding possible noise and visual intrusion issues. These concerns have been noted and are being considered as part of the project's ongoing development and design.

When and where is this happening?

Our principle contractor, Balfour Beatty, began the first phase of works in November 2014 with the deployment of full traffic management. Main construction commenced in January 2015.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The M3 between junctions 2 and junction 4a experiences above average traffic counts of over 130,000 vehicular movements a day. Further issues arise with higher than normal levels of congestion in both peak periods (am and pm).

In the March 2008 'Advanced motorway signalling and traffic management feasibility study' this motorway link was identified as a priority for the provision of additional capacity and ministers agreed that smart motorways, as an alternative to widening, should be investigated.

The feasibility study for the M3 identified a single option which will allow vehicles to run on the hard shoulder on the M3 junctions 2 to 4a without Through Junction Running (TJR). This option is being further developed to ensure that best value for money and minimal environmental impact can be achieved.

The estimated cost of this scheme is in the range of £138 million and £198 million.

How will the scheme be carried out?

In order to build the scheme with as little negative impact as possible we will:

  • maintain 3 lanes of traffic on both carriageways
  • use a 50mph speed limit
  • provide a free recovery service for those in need through the works
  • limit full closures to a minimum and manage when full closures take place to avoid conflicting with local events

How will you manage traffic through the roadworks?

In order to help keep traffic moving through the works, we employ a 24/7 CCTV system with 100% coverage throughout the scheme in order to pick up any incidents, accidents or vehicular breakdowns. All vehicles are recovered free of charge and as quickly as possible by our dedicated on-site vehicle recovery service. Drivers and their passengers are taken to our customer care centre where they can wait in a safe, comfortable environment, while making arrangements for their onward journey.

What are the benefits?

Once completed the scheme will comprise the following elements:

  • a queue protection technology
  • MS4 information signs
  • lane specific speed signals at certain locations
  • variable speed limits
  • speed enforcement
  • permanent hard shoulder usage as a running lane
  • emergency refuge areas with emergency telephones
  • a lower noise road surfacing

This will:

  • relieve congestion
  • smooth the flow of the traffic
  • improve journey times
  • provide better information to road users

These benefits will also support economic development both within the region and nationally.

How do I find out more information ?

More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

Details of scheduled roadworks are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Will there be roadworks?

Yes, roadworks will be needed.

Please note that this project is taking part in a trial to make road works simpler and clearer for peo­ple to drive through.

For more information please visit our traffic information webpage.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Wednesday 26th August 201510pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound Junction 4a to 3 including junctions 4a and 4 entry slipsN/A
Thursday 27th August 20159pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound Junction 4a to 3 including junctions 4a and 4 entry slipsN/A

How will you manage traffic?

In order to help keep traffic moving through the works, we employ a 24/7 CCTV system with 100% coverage throughout the scheme in order to pick up any incidents, accidents or vehicular breakdowns. All vehicles are recovered free of charge and as quickly as possible by our dedicated on-site vehicle recovery service. Drivers and their passengers are taken to our customer care centre where they can wait in a safe, comfortable environment, while making arrangements for their onward journey.

Will there be diversions?

While we will endeavour to keep full closure to a minimum where we are able some closures will be required at night in order to mitigate the safety risks to both the travelling public and our workforce. Please note that all yellow diversion signs used for the scheme are clearly marked as “M3 Diverted Traffic”.

All diversion routes employed by the scheme were agreed by local authorities and emergency services prior to the project starting.

 

Business Case

M3 Junctions 2-4a Managed Motorway Business Case
Business Case - Information correct as at December 2010

Environment

M3 Junctions 2-4a Smart Motorway Environmental Assessment Report
The purpose of the Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) is to assess whether or not significant environmental effects would be likely to occur as a result of construction and/or operation of the Scheme.

Leaflet

M3 J2-4a Public Information Exhibition - presentation
M3 J2-4a Public Information Exhibition - presentation

Legal

Newsletter

M3 Junction 2 - 4a newsletter
M3 Junctions 2-4a newsletter

Report

M1 Junctions 28 to 35a Air Quality Mitigation Summary of Consultation Responses
Responses to the consultation on proposal to introduce a maximum mandatory 60mph speed limit on the M1 between junction 28 and 35a.
M3 Junctions 2-4a Managed Motorway Statutory Instrument Consultation Report
M3 Junctions 2-4a Managed Motorway - Response to the Consultation Report - September 2013