Consultation on proposed new M3 junction at Winchester

HIGHWAYS England is consulting on a £100m junction upgrade to make life easier for drivers using the Petersfield to Winchester road to get to London, the West Country or the Midlands.

Currently, the A272 joins the A31, which after three miles or so ends at the Winnall Trading Estate roundabout on the M3 – a bottleneck for anyone travelling to Devon and Cornwall, London on the M3, and the Midlands and the North via the A34.

The proposed reconfiguration at junction nine of the M3 will see the roundabout bypassed entirely, so relieving traffic congestion and improving road safety.

It is also hoped the surrounding area will become more attractive to businesses and house builders if the junction and roads leading to it are free flowing.

A Highways England (HA) spokesman said: “Junction nine is a key transport interchange connecting south Hampshire and the wider sub-region, with London, the Midlands, the North and the principal east-west A303 to the West Country.

“During peak periods, about 6,000 vehicles an hour use the roundabout, which acts as a bottleneck and causes significant delay throughout the day.

“Northbound and southbound movements between the M3 and the A34 are particularly intensive, with downstream queues on the northbound off-slip road of the M3 often resulting in safety concerns.”

The proposed work will also reduce the number of people affected by noise, and connect sections of National Cycle Network Route 23 severed by the current layout.

The HA spokesman added: “We are consulting on our proposal to provide free-flowing road links between the M3 and the A34, both northbound and southbound, with no need to enter the junction nine roundabout to travel between the A34 and M3. The A34 southbound link will pass under the M3 with a 50mph speed limit.

“This proposal would reduce congestion and make journey times more reliable, improve road safety and reduce air pollution.”

“We are at an early stage in developing the scheme and want your views to help inform its future direction.”

After the consultation, which runs until February 19, a layout will be selected and announced in the summer. It is hoped the two-year project which could cost up to £100m will start in 2021.

Daniel Gormley