Highways England completes £174m upgrade on M3
Highways England (HE) has upgraded the M3 in Surrey and Hampshire with new smart motorway technology.
As part of a £174m upgrade, the highway authority has installed advanced technology on a 13.4-mile section of the motorway between M25 and Farnborough.
The new technology has been designed to set speed limits, identify queuing traffic, incidents or broken down vehicles, and inform drivers about conditions ahead.
The motorway upgrade also features the addition of a fourth traffic lane in each direction in order to increase road capacity by a third between London and the South West.
This upgrade is expected to benefit 130,000 drivers who use the motorway every day.
Highways England smart motorway programme director Shaun Pidcock said: “We’ve added 26.8 miles of new lanes to this busy section of the M3 and completely overhauled the technology to give drivers better information to help with their journeys.
“New technology will make the road more resilient to disruption, improving journeys by using variable speed limits that will help tackle frustrating stop-start traffic and giving drivers better information on conditions ahead.
“As well as the smart motorway upgrade, we have also been carrying out the most extensive maintenance on the M3 since it was first built in 1971, fully resurfacing the motorway and its slip roads and restoring it to an ‘as new’ condition.”
Highways England stated that the main construction on the project was completed on 30 June, and the fourth lane was opened to public use with a speed restriction of 50mph while the technology was tested.
The highway officials have now opened all the four lanes at 70mph.
Highways England, which was created in April 2015, has so far completed 16 major improvements, with a further 15 upgrades due to be started or open by next year.
Image: The new style emergency area on the M3 smart motorway. Photo: courtesy of the UK Government.