Increase use of A3 because of the Hindhead tunnel has made noise worse for East Hampshire residents

POPULAR The Hindhead tunnel on the A3
POPULAR The Hindhead tunnel on the A3

Morning weather and travel: traffic building on M3

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THE Hindhead tunnel has been hailed by commuters who say it has chopped some journey times in half.

But the increase in traffic along the A3M and A3 has proved a nightmare for people living close by who are suffering from increased noise.

Now a task force has been set up by Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council to pile the pressure on the Highways Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra) to take action to reduce the din.

The Highways Agency says there is no evidence yet of an increase in either traffic or noise.

But East Hampshire councillor Dorothy Denston said: ‘Since the tunnel opened there is even more traffic which means houses from Grayshott and Liphook, in East Hampshire, down to Bedhampton are suffering more noise. It’s true to say you can tolerate problems in houses but not gardens.

‘It is particularly bad where the A27 joins the A3M in Bedhampton – it’s the 20th noisiest junction in the country.

‘The Hindhead Tunnel is now attracting continental lorries that would previously have used the M3 to get to London.

‘Defra is considering a noise-mapping survey. The previous survey was taken before the tunnel opened, before the extra traffic.

‘The tunnel in itself is marvellous – it’s just that it’s so noisy.’

Part of the A3, north from the Lakesmere interchange in Horndean, has been resurfaced recently and is much quieter. Residents would like to see the entire road resurfaced.

Bob Gale, of Ferndale, Waterlooville, said: ‘Over recent years we have experienced a significant increase in the road noise generated by the A3M and B2150, such that it is now a constant roar and constitutes a real nuisance at all hours of the day.’

Defra confirmed that a noise survey is due to take place this year.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for noise mitigation, said in a statement: ‘It is too early to draw any firm conclusions about changes in traffic flow near Portsmouth since the opening of the Hindhead Tunnel, and far too early to assess whether it has had a discernable impact on noise levels.’

Only worn-out stretches of road will be replaced by low noise surfaces.