M27 smart motorway work completion date delayed until next spring

WORK to turn a stretch of the M27 into a smart motorway has been once again hit by delays – and it is now not due to be completed until next spring.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:59 pm

Highways England is adding smart motorway features between Junction 4 at the M3 interchange and Junction 11 at Fareham, turning the hard shoulder into a permanent running lane to create a dual four-lane motorway.

The project was due to be completed at some stage between July and September this year, but in April the government body said delays meant it would be finished at some point before 2022.

Now drivers will continue to face speed restrictions and average-speed-check cameras until spring 2022, as the project has been hit with delays once again.

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Plans to create a stretch of smart motorway along the M27 have caused a lot of controversy.

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In an update on the works, a message on the Highways Authority website said: ‘We are making good progress with the upgrade to the M27 and have committed to implementing the recommendations of the Government stocktake before the scheme opens fully.

‘This means it will include stopped vehicle detection technology.

‘We are grateful for everyone’s patience while we complete this work, and we expect the upgrade to be fully open in spring 2022.’

In April, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced no new ARL smart motorways would be opened without the stopped-vehicle detection technology to spot road blockages from incidents and broken down cars.

It follows widespread concern about the new motorways, with criticism aimed at their lack of a hard shoulder, which can trap drivers who break down in the speeding traffic.

Some local politicians have previously expressed concerns about smart motorways.

In February last year Conservative MP for Fareham Suella Braverman said in Westminster that the project is becoming ‘terrifying’.

She said then: ‘Many local people in Fareham are concerned about safety and are calling for the smart motorway upgrade on the M27 to be scrapped and reversed.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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