Councils will work together to reduce impact of M27 smart motorway scheme

Queuing traffic on the M27 between Fareham and Portsmouth
Queuing traffic on the M27 between Fareham and Portsmouth
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FOUR councils have vowed to work together to stop roads chaos while the M27 is upgraded.

Yesterday Solent Transport, which is made up of Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth and Southampton city councils and the Isle of Wight Council, agreed to play a role in helping plan the new ‘smart’ motorway.

Our role is to help Highways England manage the works and help keep the network moving.

Councillor Rob Humby

The project, put forward by Highways England, will see the stretch of carriageway between junction 11 at Fareham and junction 4 at the M3 interchange have variable speed limits and the hard shoulder in use for certain times of the day.

The two-and-a-half year project will start in spring 2018.

To reduce the amount of disruption the works cause, Solent Transport has agreed to help by co-ordinating other road schemes.

Councillor Rob Humby, vice-chairman of the board, said: ‘Our role is to help Highways England manage the works and help keep the network moving.

‘By having all the councils involved, we can see when other schemes are happening and plan them accordingly.’

He added: ‘We welcome this investment and it is about time the south received a share of the funding.’

Highways England announced its plan to turn the M27 into a smart motorway in 2015. It is part of £1.5bn spending scheme by the government.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, welcomed the smart motorway – but added that it is important for road schemes to be co-ordinated.

‘There are a lot of road projects going on at the moment although a lot of them should be finished by the time this starts,’ he said.

‘It is crucial for them to be looked at to ensure drivers don’t face long delays.’

He added: ‘The smart motorway idea is a fantastic one. It will increase road capacity by a third and the section of the M27 chosen is right.’