M3 Junctions 2-4a: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Current


Start date:   November 2014
End date:  By the end of June 2017


Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £157.9 million


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1 year into construction

With the M3 smart motorway scheme having completed just over a year of construction we wanted to provide you with an update as to some of the works that have been completed and carried out during that time.

  • We have undertaken over 1,086,180 man hours over the last year
  • We have constructed 18 gantry bases and fully installed 12 gantries
  • Works on an oil and sediment tank has been completed which will help to take extra rainfall from the carriageway and help filter out hydrocarbon pollutants
  • We have installed a large amount of slip form concrete central reserve barrier (15,950m)
  • We have also installed 21,675m of slot drainage in both the central reserve and on the northbound verge.And 149 new Environmental Barrier panels have been installed

As we move into the second year of construction, we are changing the layout of our traffic management. This will enable us to progress the work, which has already started on the northbound carriageway between junctions 3 to 2.

Our next steps are to remove the contraflow between junctions 3 to 4a which will allow us to provide three lanes on both carriageways. Once complete we will move work from the northbound carriageway over to the southbound.

This work will include:

  • Earthworks to verge area (removal of the top layer of soil for reuse such as the building of temporary embankments so that construction can begin)
  • Excavation of trenches for new drainage
  • Installation of new drainage
  • Construction of piling platforms for new gantriesInstallation of new electrical interface cabinets
  • Sheet piling to emergency refuge areas
  • Construction of retaining walls
  • Removal of vegetation and surfacing.

Provisional work will start in early February to facilitate the construction of gantry bases on the southbound carriageway between junctions 3 and 4.

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

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
Saturday 6th February 20169pm – 7amM3 Southbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 5 including slip roads.N/A
Sunday 7th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Southbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 5 including slip roads.N/A
Monday 8th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Southbound junction 2 main carriageway full closure between slips.N/A
Monday 8th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 2 including slip roads.N/A
Tuesday 9th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Southbound junction 2 main carriageway full closure between slips.N/A
Tuesday 9th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 2 including slip roads.N/A
Wednesday 10th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Southbound junction 2 main carriageway full closure between slips.N/A
Wednesday 10th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 2 including slip roads.N/A
Thursday 11th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Southbound junction 2 main carriageway full closure between slips. M3 Southbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 5 including slip roads.N/A
Thursday 11th February 20169pm – 5.30amM3 Northbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 2 including slip roads.N/A
Friday 12th February 20169pm – 7amM3 Southbound junction 2 main carriageway full closure between slips. M3 Southbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 5 including slip roads.N/A
Friday 12th February 20169pm – 7amM3 Northbound full carriageway closure between junction 3 to junction 2 including slip roads.N/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 closures 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”.

As all the diversions employed by the scheme were agreed by both the local authorities and the emergency services prior to the project starting, we ask that drivers adhere to these routes so as to minimise negative impacts to local roads.

M3 Northbound junction 3 to junction 2 full carriageway closure including slip roads:

Exit M3 junction 3 Northbound offslip to A322 to A30 to M25 junction 13 to M3 junction 2.

M3 Southbound junction 3 to junction 5 full carriageway closure including slip roads:

Exit M3 junction 3 Southbound offslip to A322 to A30 to A287 to M3 junction 5 onslip Southbound.

M3 Southbound junction 2 between slips full carriageway closure:

Exit M3 junction 2 Southbound offslip to M25 anti-clockwise to M25 junction 11 anti clockwise offslip to M25 junction 11 clockwise entry slip to M25 junction 12 offslip clockwise to M3 Southbound.

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