CONGESTION chaos and delays are everyday problems for M27 commuters.
So it may come as a surprise to hear that new figures have revealed the road is in fact one of the UK’s best motorways.
The fact that the M27 is one of the fastest patches of motorway in the country highlights the urgent need for greater investment in our transport infrastructureSuella Fernandes, Fareham MP
The 25-mile long route, which runs from Portsmouth to the New Forest, has today been named as the fifth-fastest motorway in Britain.
It comes following a major study of all the nation’s key highways, analysing congestion trends and the average speeds motorists reach on a daily basis.
And the M27 sits at the top end of the table, with a speed of 44.77mph.
But the news has not been welcomed by some of the area’s politicians, who claim it only goes to prove how desperate the UK is for a radical overhaul of its clogged motorway system.
Fareham’s MP Suella Fernandes said she is inundated by complaints from constituents about the M27’s traffic woes and said she was determined to pressure the government into pumping more cash into improving the highway.
She said: ‘Chronic congestion on the M27 has a very real and disruptive effect on people trying to go about their daily lives and is also damaging to businesses and the local economy.
‘The Solent region plays a strong role in our national economy so it is in the interest of the whole country that we have a thriving economy, which means having a transport infrastructure that promotes growth and productivity.
‘However, many constituents have contacted me about the long delays they experience on a day-to-day basis and I have been campaigning for improvements to be made.’
She added: ‘The fact that the M27 is one of the fastest stretches of motorway in the country highlights the urgent need for greater investment in our transport infrastructure.’
The national speed limit for British motorways is 70mph. But the statistics show that all the nation’s major trunk roads barely come close to hitting this, with some 30mph to 40mph slower.
Commuters on a total of 16 of the 38 highways travelled between 30mph and 40mph, while five of the nation’s routes could not even reach speeds of 30mph, with the motorists on the UK’s slowest motorway – the tiny three-mile stretch of the M606, in Yorkshire – creeping along at a sluggish 24.62mph.
In contrast, the fastest motorway in Britain is Scotland’s M74, with an average speed of 52.61mph.
London’s ring road, the M25, notched up 39.69mph, with M3 commuters able to travel on average at 41.12mph.
Portsmouth City Council boss Donna Jones was shocked by the results and said it was vital for the region’s economy that problems on the M27 were fixed.
And she said the key to this was to have a Solent Combined Authority that would seek to implement plans to turn the road into a ‘smart’ motorway.
‘The motorway is absolutely not working anywhere near how it should be,’ Cllr Jones said.
‘It is a key artery for businesses right across Hampshire and for the people living in and around Portsmouth.
‘But whenever there is an accident, the M27 snarls up and grinds to a halt.
‘The fact it has been named as one of the UK’s fastest only speaks of how poor our nation’s motorway infrastructure is.’
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I would hate to travel on the slowest motorway if the M27 is one of the quickest.
‘I would like to see us take control of the motorway as part of the Solent devolution plan as soon as possible.’
Last year Highways England revealed plans to turn the hard shoulder of the M27 into an extra lane at peak times.
The proposal was part of a £15bn ‘smart’ motorway project. The scheme will see 292 extra lane miles added to 10 motorways. The plan would affect Junctions 4 and 11 of the M27.
A Department for Transport spokesman said this would improve traffic flow, adding: ‘We are making the most extensive improvements to roads since the 1970s, investing a record £15bn to improve motorways and major A-roads to make journeys faster, better and more reliable for everyone.’
AVERAGE MOTORWAY SPEEDS
* M1: 43.83mph (70.53kph)
* M11: 45.13mph (72.63kph)
* M18: 38.11mph (61.33kph)
* M180: 39.58mph (63.70kph)
* M2: 34.25mph (55.12kph)
* M20: 46.92mph (75.51kph)
* M23: 42.81mph (68.90kph)
* M25: 39.69mph (63.84kph)
* M26: 32.52mph (52.35kph)
* M27: 47.77mph (76.88kph)
* M3: 41.12mph (66.17kph)
* M32: 26.15mph (42.09kph)
* M4: 44.36mph (71.39kph)
* M40: 48.61mph (78.23kph)
* M42: 40.88mph (65.79kph)
* M5: 39.69mph (63.87kph)
* M53: 44.75mph (72.02kph)
* M54: 47.64mph (76.67kph)
* M56: 39.69mph (63.87kph)
* M57: 41.73mph (67.15kph)
* M58: 43.30mph (69.67kph)
* M6: 40.63mph (65.38kph)
* M60: 29.02mph (46.70kph)
* M602: 26.91mph (43.31kph)
* M606: 24.62mph (39.63kph)
* M61: 37.26mph (59.97kph)
* M62: 39.77mph (64.01kph)
* M621: 26.76mph (43.03kph)
* M65: 34.70mph (55.85kph)
* M66: 34.93mph (56.21kph)
* M67: 30.42mph (48.95kph)
* M69: 49.52mph (79.70kph)
* M73: 32.10mph (51.65kph)
* M74: 52.61mph (84.66kph)
* M77: 31.46mph (50.63kph)
* M8: 34.91mph (56.18kph)
* M80: 38.95mph (62.68kph)
* M9: 26.74mph (43.04kph)