Last year we consulted on proposals to implement variable mandatory speed limits on the M3 between junctions 9 and 14. You can now read the results of that consultation in the report.
Weâ€™ll be getting the M3 ready to become a smart motorway early next year. This will involve clearing vegetation and repairing the hard shoulder.
We carried out four public information events in September 2019 to gather feedback on our design and inform people about smart motorways. Our brochure and the information banners we displayed are still available for you to view in the project media files section.
Please sign up to our email alerts to keep updated about the scheme and planned public events, and to learn more about the smart motorways programme.
From January 2020 weâ€™ll occasionally close one lane of the motorway so we can safely clear vegetation and finish our survey work.
Our key milestones are:
- Winter/spring 2020 â€“ Start site clearance and preparatory work
- 2020-22 â€“ Start building the new smart motorway
Why we need this scheme
The M3 motorway is a key part of the strategic road network and provides a vital economic link from the Midlands (via the A34) and London to the major ports of Southampton and Portsmouth on the south coast (via the M27). Junctions 9 to 14 of the M3 are in southern Hampshire, England between Winchester and Southampton.
This route is heavily used by cars and freight, and faces congestion during peak travel hours caused by the volume of traffic using the network. In 2036, this section of the M3 (junction 9 to 14) is forecast to carry an average of between 63,000 and 86,000 vehicles per day, which is an increase of 20,000 vehicles compared 2015. Adding this additional infrastructure will enable forecast levels of traffic to flow freely on this section of the M3.
Through the use of CCTV, sensors and electronic signage, Highways England can manage the roads more effectively. By introducing this technology as well as additional safety features, the hard shoulder can be converted safely into a permanent running lane providing additional capacity in both directions.
This adds additional capacity, helps to reduce congestion and improves journey times for road users.
The scheme in detail
The M3 will be converted into a smart motorway between junction 9 (Winchester) and 14 (Southampton). This stretch of road is 10 miles long. There are slight variations of smart motorway that can be used depending on the layout and configuration of the road.
Between junction 9 (Winchester) to 13 (Eastleigh), the M3 will operate four-lanes in each direction. This is known as â€˜all-lane runningâ€™ and involves the existing hard shoulder being converted into an additional lane for vehicles.
Road users driving northbound and joining the M3 at junction 14 where the roads converge from the M27 eastbound, westbound and from Southampton will see the M3 operate four lanes and a hard shoulder up to junction 13.
For road users driving southbound from junction 13 (Eastleigh) towards junction 14 (Southampton), the road will transition from four lanes with no hard should shoulder and then split into two separate roads to link to the M27 East and West.
The section of the M3 linking to the M27 eastbound will feature two lanes and a hard shoulder. The section of the M3 linking to the M27 westbound will comprise three lanes with no hard shoulder. The road layout into Southampton will remain as it is now.
The section from after junction 13 (Eastleigh) to junction 14 (Southampton) is a variation of smart motorway known as a â€˜controlled motorwayâ€™.
Road users will see enhanced signage, information and the deployment of variable speed limits from overhead gantries from junction 9 to junction 14.
Project media files and documents
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix A Part 1
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix A Part 2
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix A Part 3
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 1
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 2
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 3
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 4
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 5
Environmental Assessment Report - Appendix B Part 6
Roadworks and Events for England
The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England
Breaking News: Traffic Information
The latest current breaking news items for England's motorway network