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Plans unveiled for M3 upgrade following pause of smart motorways scheme after government decision

ational Highways has unveiled new plans for a Hampshire road that was set for a major upgrade as part of a smart motorway scheme.

The planned M3 smart motorway scheme was one of a number across the UK that have been put on hold following an inquiry into safety.

The report said that upgrades will be paused until five years of data being available to look at.

However, schemes that were already underway, including the M27 junction 4-11 upgrade, will not be affected as clarified by National Highways. The motorway is reportedly set to open over the next few weeks with the new scheme in place between Eastleigh and Fareham after almost four years of work between junction 4 and 11. Original plans for the nearby M3 would've seen a smart motorway installed from junction nine at Winchester with the A34 interchange and junction 14 at Southampton on the M3. With plans being put on hold for the scheme, new plans have now been released as to how the road will be improved in the meantime between those junctions.

The existing central reservation will be upgraded to concrete with planning currently underway.

Taking to the National Highways website, a spokesperson said: "On 12 January 2022 the Government’s response to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the roll out and safety of smart motorways was published. "The M3 junctions 9-14 upgrade is one of the schemes being paused.

"During the pause, we will continue to make sure all existing ALR smart motorways are equipped with best-in-class technology and resources and are as safe as they can possibly be. "At this location on the M3 we are planning work to upgrade the existing central reservation barrier to concrete, which will deliver standalone safety benefits. We are currently planning this work and will share more information as soon as possible. "The rest of the upgrade is being paused until 5 years of safety data is available."

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