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