96% of people who responded to the non-statutory consultation backed the need for the improvements to this junction, which will be redesigned under the plans to create dedicated free flow lanes which will allow drivers travelling between the M3 and the A34 to avoid using the junction roundabout.
The roundabout itself will be rebuilt to allow for the additional lanes to run through it, increasing capacity and making it easier for traffic to interchange between the M3 and the A34. This will reduce queuing and make journey times more reliable.
Highways England Project Manager Simon Hewett said:
More than 110,000 vehicles use this busy junction each day to interchange with the A34 and routes into Winchester, often more than 6,000 each hour during peak times. Regular road users know that often becomes congested, with queues backing up onto the main carriageway.
The upgrade to M3 junction 9 will create new dedicated link roads to separate out local and long distance traffic. Through traffic will not have to stop at the roundabout, freeing it up for local traffic and commuters. We are improving access for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians, with the upgrade including a new 4m side cycle path with a new footpath next to the cycleway to the River Itchen.
We are aware of people’s concerns about traffic merging between the A34 and A33; this was the most common point raised during the consultation period and we are reviewing a number of options to address this.
A public consultation on the upgrade was held from 9 January to 19 February. 854 responses were received during this consultation. Information events were held in the Winchester area for the public and stakeholders including local authorities, landowners and businesses, so people could look at the plans and speak to members of the project team.
96% of people who responded to the consultation questionnaire said they agree that improvements are needed at the junction. 98% of people were concerned about traffic congestion at the existing M3 junction 9, with 92% concerned both about road safety and reliability of journey time.
Today’s announcement paves the way for work on the upgrade to start in the 2021, subject to statutory processes. The upgraded junction is expected to be fully open to traffic in 2023.
A copy of the consultation report and announcement flyer can be found on the Highways England website where anyone interested in the scheme can also sign up to receive updates.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.