M3: Disappointment major junction 9 improvements do not include work at Cart and Horses junction

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Disappointment has been expressed that the government’s M3 rebuild will not include the work at the Cart and Horses junction.

National Highways has confirmed that the transport secretary approved the multi-million-pound plans which should transform journeys around junction nine of the M3 by cutting congestion. The £200 million project will create free-flowing links between the M3 and the A34 in both directions to improve connections between the south coast, the Midlands and London, National Highways said.

The junction will be widened, and two new bridges will be built to create a new gyratory. This will allow the M3 to increase from three lanes to four as it passes under the junction. It will also include 2.8km of new cycling and walking facilities, including four subways, a toucan crossing, and a 1.7 km new bridleway.

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However, the improvements will change the local highway network around The Cart and Horses junction, introducing a new slip road onto the northbound M3 created from the A33. There will also be a new shared path for people walking and cycling between The Cart and Horses junction and Winnall.

National Highways will be carrying out major infrastructure improvements on the M3 in Hampshire. Picture: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty ImagesNational Highways will be carrying out major infrastructure improvements on the M3 in Hampshire. Picture: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images
National Highways will be carrying out major infrastructure improvements on the M3 in Hampshire. Picture: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

The junction is staggered between the B3047 and the A33 at Kings Worthy, just outside Winchester. The B3047 connects the villages of Abbots Worthy and Martyr Worthy to the east and Abbots Barton and onto Winchester City Centre to the south. The A33 links to the A34 and the M3 to the south and onto Basingstoke to the north.

When the application was submitted in 2022, no indications referred to improvements to The Cart and Horses junction, which made Hampshire County Council develop proposals for the junction and a public consultation that will be sent to National Highways. Options were for either a signalised junction or two compact roundabouts, of which the county council did not find funding to deliver the scheme and was willing to work with National Highways to develop a delivery and funding plan.

However, after the latest news of the National Highways plan, which does not include the county council recommendation, Councillor Jackie Porter asked at the authority’s annual general meeting what actions the council will take as a result of the decision.

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The newly installed leader of the council, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said they were “disappointed” by the decision since the secretary of state “did not consider the mitigation” made by the council. He said: “So, as you know, the M3 junction nine improved application was granted development consent by the secretary of state on May 16.

“Despite the evidence submitted by the county council, which is a matter of public record, unfortunately, and disappointingly, the examining authority in the secretary of state did not consider the mitigation was required for the Cart and Horses junction, so the scheme remains unfunded until such time another funding opportunity arises.

“Councillor Porter and I have met there, and we have talked previously about what funding opportunities there might be. I’m very happy we are taking that conversation forward now that we have some clarity about this.

“This we know where we are, I guess. We can begin to talk then about how to bring forward the plan.”

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Despite the plans not included in this National Highways scheme, the council confirmed that it will study new alternatives to deliver “the changes that the public is so desperately seeking”, said Cllr Porter.

Cllr Adams-King said: “The fact that the junction nine scheme is not extended to include the Cart and Horses doesn’t mean that we can’t cooperate with National Highways over the construction of what we like to construct there to improve the junction.”

The main work is set to begin next year, with National Highways aiming to have it finished within three years.