• Safer Highways

M3 in Hampshire set for safety barrier improvements



National Highways will soon start work on an important safety upgrade of the central barrier on a busy section of the M3 in Hampshire, it has been announced today (Tuesday 31 May 2022).

Work to upgrade the 10-mile long steel safety barrier to a concrete one between junction 9 (Winchester) and junction 14 (Southampton) will start with the installation of narrow lanes on Monday 6 June, with a planned start of work in the central reservation at the end of the month. This work will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will be between junction 12 to 14 and the second being junctions 9 to 12. Once each phase has been completed central reservation work will begin.
Concrete barriers are even stronger than metal ones and significantly reduce the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another, improving safety and reducing the duration of incident-related congestion. They are also virtually maintenance free and will last twice as long as normal metal barriers, with far less need for closures for routine repairs.
Millat Ahmed who is overseeing the upgrades for National Highways, said:
“Concrete safety barriers significantly reduce the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another, improving safety and reducing the duration of incident-related congestion. This is an important safety upgrade and is a huge benefit to road users.”

During the roadworks three lanes will remain open to traffic. The hard shoulder will be used as a running lane, with three slightly narrowed lanes, creating a safe working area in the central reservation. There will be a reduced speed limit of 50mph, CCTV coverage and a free recovery service whilst work is being carried out.
Planned closures will be listed on the travel updates/road closure section on the National Highways website: (https://nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/road-closure-report/)
The work is part National Highways’ commitment to d help drivers feel safe and be safer when using the strategic roads network.
In November 2021, the Transport Committee reported on the roll out and safety of smart motorways and made a number of recommendations. A key recommendation of the Transport Committee’s report was to pause the roll out of new ALR motorways yet to start construction until five years of safety and economic data is available on the sections opened before 2020. The M3 is one of those paused schemes. The concrete barrier work will help ensure all existing motorways without a permanent hard shoulder are made as safe as they can possibly be. People can find out more by visiting: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-work/smart-motorways-evidence-stocktake/
More information can be found on the National Highways website
(www.nationalhighways.co.uk/traffic), local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps, or by calling the customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000. Local Twitter services are also available at @HighwaysSEAST.
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