Balfour Beatty is expected to be announced soon as winner of the Highways Agency’s £183 million ‘Smart Motorway’ contract for improvements between junctions 2 and 4a of the M3.
The scheme aims to relieve congestion between the M3 junction with the M25 and the A327 in Surrey by adding capacity along the 13.4 mile stretch. The existing hard shoulders will be used to widen the motorway. Preparatory works have already started, including ground investigations along the hard shoulder, and Balfour Beatty is expected to start on site in March with completion in April 2015.
Completion was originally to be 2016 but Smart Motorway procurement promotes fast track working which includes round the clock work on site and work proceeding from multiple work areas concurrently. Planning, design and construction preparations are also run concurrently where possible.
Fast tracking is also having the effect of allowing projects to be brought forward in the Highways Agency’s programme; as a result about £75 million worth of road spending will be brought forward to the current spending period.
Pranav Devale, Highways Agency Project Manager, said: “We are planning to increase capacity on this busy stretch to reduce congestion. Improved journeys will bring real benefits to everyone who uses the M3 in Surrey, as well as to the economy as a whole.
“We are carrying out investigations on the hard shoulder to assist with the design process. We have planned this phase to be carried out overnight, when we know traffic flows are lowest, to minimise the disruption to road users.”
Photo: M3 by Euchiasmus@geograph.co.uk