M25 and A3 widening announced in latest Highways England projects


A total of £2.2bn is being invested in planned road improvements over the next five years across Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Berkshire


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Multi-million pound plans to widen more parts of the M25, as well as adding an extra lane each way to the A3 through Guildford, have been announced by Highways England.

As part of a total £2.2bn investment in the south east’s roads, creating 20 miles of extra lanes, the roads network operator has pledged to widen the A3 between the A31 Hog’s Back and A320 Stoke Road, but not until after 2020.

Also included are improvements on the M25, which will be upgraded to five lanes for the entire length between the M40 and Chertsey before 2020.

See the results of our A3 survey here

Nicky Potts, Highways England’s asset development manager for the south east, said: “Significant work is being planned for the A3 in this five-year period.

“We are looking to ease congestion for drivers around the Guildford area, particularly around junction 10 on the M25 [Wisley interchange] and junctions along the A3.

“We are also we looking at how to make junctions of the A3 safer so that drivers can merge on and off more easily.

“We will be looking to widen that 50mph section of the A3 and that is a priority for us but we are still in the planning phase.”

Highways England stressed that any roadworks to improve the A3 would be staged in order not to impact other parts of the road network and minimise inconvenience for motorists.

The improvements are not due to begin until after 2020.

Google MapsStretch of A3 to be widened in Highways England project

Stretch of A3 to be widened in Highways England project

Simon Jones, Highways England’s south east divisional director, said: “We want to improve the journeys of motorists in Surrey, we want journeys to be more reliable and safer for the road user.

“We want to improve the whole experience and provide a more resilient network for people in Surrey and Guildford.”

Guildford Borough Council’s lead member for infrastructure and environment, Councillor Matt Furniss, said: “We welcome the planned improvements to the A3 and surrounding road networks.

“It is vital to improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion on such a major road that goes through Guildford.

“We are working closely with our partners at Highways England on both strategic and local road network improvements, and are urging Highways England to improve the A3 in the next spend period.

“Only with joined up improvements to the A3, local network, rail, bus, cycling and walking will we be able to improve Guildford’s whole travel experience.”

Highways England published a report in May which identified the A3 around Guildford as having five of the 10 least reliable sections of highway in the M25 to Solent area.

The stretch was also identified as the 24th least reliable in the entire country’s strategic road network.

Simon Jones, Highways England regional director for the south east, divisional director Ken Simmonds and road traffic officer Tony Wooller

Meanwhile, some groups have expressed concern about plans to further widen the M25 in Surrey.

Chris Fisher, from the ‘Four Lanes Are More Than Enough’ or ‘FLAME’ group – which campaigned against the widening of the M25 in the 1990s – said: “If they are proposing to widen to five lanes that aren’t already that wide – between junctions 11 and 12, and 15 and 16 – we would regard that as a demonstration of old, tired and futile policy.

“You widen so the motorway fills up and you have to widen again.

“I would also be very worried about the Heathrow proposal to bring in a third runway. That’s an underlying issue there.

“There’s also an increased concern about pollution. The air around Heathrow is already in conflict with pollution levels.”

Malcolm Loveday, chairman of the Chertsey Society was more positive about the proposed expansion, but warned more needed to be done locally to help with congestion.

He said: “Anything that can improve the efficiency of the motorway is probably beneficial if it is done in conjunction with local roads.

“I think we have to take the long-term view that there will be disruption while they are trying to make things better.

“Our real problem is that local road infrastructure is so heavily congested some improvement ought to be done in parallel with the motorway works.”

Major upgrades set to begin in the south east over the next five years include:

  • Enhancing capacity on the M3 between Winchester and Southampton

  • Enhancing capacity on the M27 between Southampton and Fareham

  • Upgrading the M20 near Maidstone to a smart motorway

  • Upgrading the M4 to a smart motorway between Reading and the M25

  • Tackling congestion on the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury

  • Upgrading the A27 in Sussex

  • Improving junctions on the A2 near Bean and Ebbsfleet

  • Improving the A34 between the M4 and M40

  • Increasing capacity on the M2 between Sittingbourne and Maidstone

  • Improving junctions on the M3 near Winchester

  • Improving the M27 and M271 near Southampton

  • Tackling delays on the A31 near Ringwood in Hampshire

  • Improving access to the A12 and A3 from the M25

  • Upgrading the M25 to the latest generation of smart motorway, with five lanes between the M40 and Chertsey

  • Developing plans to reduce congestion on the A3 near Guildford

  • Developing plans for an additional Lower Thames Crossing

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