More details have been announced for the M27 smart motorway scheme

NO PAIN no gain says Highways England as its plans for the M27 smart motorway scheme are unveiled to the public.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 11:43 am
An emergency area on a smart motorway. The revamped M27 will have 13 such areas

There will be ‘short term pain for long term gain’ say officials as the 15-mile stretch between Junction 4 and Junction 11 is due to be converted to an ‘all four lanes running’ smart motorway over the next two and half years.

Work will start in the next six months.

Highways England route manager John Henderson said: ‘There will be congestion while we put this scheme in place but we aim to have three lanes always open and closing one lane off at a time.

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‘Obviously when we put in the gantries over the top of the motorways which have the signs on then we will have to close all the lanes. But this will be overnight and should only be for one or two nights as foundations will already be in place.’

Highways England have taken comments from drivers on their smart motorway on the M25 to aid their delivery of the M27 initiative.

John said: ‘Feedback from our scheme on the M25 told us people didn’t want large sections coned off so we will be doing it in smaller sections.

‘We will want to ensure the local roads aren’t used as a rat run and people know the motorways will be open for the majority of the time.’

The North Fareham bridge between Junction 11 and Junction 10 will have to be demolished and replaced due to its height.

John said: ‘For this replacement we will need to have a weekend closure as lorries would not fit under if they were in lane one, but we hope to have it re-opened Sunday afternoon as the bridge is prefabricated.’

Thirteen emergency areas will also be installed along the stretch of motorway and will be placed approximately 2km apart. They will be equipped with telephones to contact the control room for assistance.

John said: ‘If you are travelling 60mph every 75 seconds you will pass an emergency area. We have found 93 per cent of drivers don’t have a good reason to be on the hard shoulder, so that leaves seven per cent.

‘Most cars do not break down on the spot so motorists should be able to get to an emergency area.’

The authority has also vowed the improvements will make journeys more reliable.

John said: ‘This scheme will add an extra 33 per cent capacity to the motorway and help with congestion.

‘It aims to make people’s journeys better and more reliable in terms of time and knowing how long it will take them to get somewhere providing there is not an accident.’

The smart technology installed will be able to detect traffic slowing down, enforce lower speed limits and manage incidents.

John added: ‘The speed limits will be enforceable and people can get points for disobeying.

‘We will also be doing awareness about different signs, in particular red cross – which means people need to get out of that lane and is illegal to stay in it.’

Information about the M27 smart motorway scheme is available online at highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m27-junctions-4-to-11-smart-motorway/ and exhibitions for the public will be held over the next two months.

The public information exhibitions are:

- Friday, June 22, 10.30am - 7.30pm at West End Parish Centre, Chapel Road.

- Saturday, June 23, 10.30am - 4pm at West End Parish Centre, Chapel Road.

- Friday, June 29, 12.30pm - 7pm at Bursledon and District Community Association, Portsmouth Road.

- Friday, July 6, 2.30pm - 7pm at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bassett Avenue.

- Saturday, July 7, 10.30am - 4pm at St Michael and All Angels Church.

- Friday, July 20, 10.30am - 7.30pm at Hedge End Town Council, St John’s Road.

- Saturday, July 21, 10.30am - 4pm at Hedge End Town Council, St John’s Road.

- Friday, July 27, 10.30am - 7.30pm at Cosham Community Centre, Wooton Street

- Friday August 3, 10.30am - 7.30pm at Sarisbury Green Community Centre, The Green

- Saturday, August 4, 10.30am - 2pm at Sarisbury Green Community Centre, The Green.

- Saturday, August 11, 10.30am - 7.30pm at Ferneham Hall, Osborn Road.

- Have your say. Email [email protected]