Drivers’ joy as motorway work finishes early

GRIDLOCK The A3M grinds to a halt following a junction closure due to roadworks
GRIDLOCK The A3M grinds to a halt following a junction closure due to roadworks

TRAVEL: Delays due to broken down vehicle on A27

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ROADWORKS which have brought traffic chaos to a major motorway route into Portsmouth have ended – six weeks earlier than planned.

For the past month the junction of the A3M and A27 at Bedhampton has been closed at weekends.

It was shut so the A3M bridge over the A27 could have its ageing, 30-year-old joints fixed.

But the closure brought misery to thousands of drivers, many heading into the city for Pompey matches.

Many were delayed for up to 30 minutes as they trickled through a diversion.

There have also been weekday lane closures at night and, in addition, motorists have had to contend with the so-called yellow vultures – average speed cameras – through the roadworks.

But the Highways Agency said today that workers had made such good progress there will be no more weekend closures and the entire project will be completed by April 8.

Highways Agency spokeswoman Jane Manning said of the work, on what it calls the Farlington Viaduct, at Bedhampton: ‘Work has progressed ahead of schedule and has now finished on the main carriageway.

‘There will still be 24-hour hard shoulder closures on the A3M and some overnight lane closures to carry out final tasks which will include removing the speed cameras.’

She said the 40mph speed restriction on the motorway’s southbound carriageway was lifted on Wednesday night and the 50mph limit on the northbound route will be removed next week.

And there was another piece of good news for drivers using the A3 route.

Yesterday the latest part of the £371m Hindhead tunnel project on the Hampshire/Surrey border was completed as the final bridge across the new road was opened.

The Miss James footbridge – named after a local Edwardian landowner and conservationist – crosses 56ft above the new A3 at the southern end of the tunnel.

It has been planted and earthed over to provide a wildlife corridor as well as a crossing point for walkers and horse riders. The road will open in the summer.