M3 Smart Motorways Scheme

M3 Smart Motorways Scheme J9 to 14

For details about the consultation on planned improvements to the A34/M3J9 intersection, see  www.highways.gov.uk/m3j9

The Parish Council has just received, and is publishing, this letter giving advance notice of planned upgrades to the M3 between Winchester and Southampton.

If you want more information, we recommend that in the first instance you visit the scheme webpage, which includes

  • start date 31 March 2020; finish date 31 March 2022
  • introduction of mandatory variable speed limit
Know your Smart Motorways

Types of smart motorway

M3 Smart Motorways Scheme
M3 Smart Motorways Scheme – from the Smart Motorways leaflet

You can download the whole Smart Motorways leaflet from  www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway

All lane running schemes

As the name suggests, all lane running smart motorways have no hard shoulder.

Under all lane running schemes, lane one (formerly used solely as the hard shoulder) is only closed to traffic via overhead and verge mounted cantilever signs, in the event of an incident. On these sections, broken white lines between all lanes indicates that each lane has the same status.

Just as in the dynamic hard shoulder schemes, overhead gantry signs display the mandatory speed limit which varies depending on the traffic conditions and speed cameras are used to enforce these. Signs can also be used to close lanes should that be required.

If an incident occurs in lane one – formerly the hard shoulder – a red cross (X) symbol is displayed to let motorists know the lane has been closed to traffic. Driving in a lane under which the red X symbol is being shown is illegal and could lead to you being prosecuted.

CCTV is used extensively to monitor traffic for any incidents. Should drivers break down or be involved in an accident there are emergency refuge areas at the side of the carriageway for them to use. These are typically further apart than current sections of motorway operating the dynamic hard shoulder running configuration, with an average spacing of 1.5 miles apart.

All lane running is the standard for all new smart motorway schemes

Controlled motorway schemes

Controlled motorways have three or more lanes with variable speed limits, but retain a hard shoulder. The hard shoulder should only be used in a genuine emergency. They have:

  • A hard shoulder which can be opened and closed.
  • Variable speed limits.
  • Lane control by overhead gantries.
  • Emergency refuge areas.
  • CCTV.
  • multiple lanes, variable speed limits and a hard shoulder for use in emergencies only.

Dynamic hard shoulder running schemes

Dynamic hard shoulder running involves opening the hard shoulder as a running lane to traffic at busy periods to ease congestion.

More about Smart Motorways can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway.

M3 Smart Motorways Scheme

Our ref: M3 J9-14 SMP Intro Letter (WNM)

David Drake
The Clerk
Compton and Shawford Parish Council
PO Box 565
Winchester SO23 3HG

Andrew Robinson-Morris
M3 J9-14
Smart Motorways Programme
Highways England
5 St Philips Place
B3 2PW
Tel: 0300 123 5000

05 January 2018

Dear David Drake,

M3 J9 to 14 Smart Motorways Scheme

Highways England is developing proposals to upgrade the M3 from Junction 9 (Winchester / A34 interchange) to Junction 14 (M27 Southampton interchange). The scheme covers approximately 16 km (10 miles) and involves permanently converting the hard shoulder into a live lane to provide additional traffic capacity.

We are currently in the early development stages of the scheme’s preliminary design, while also undertaking the collection of key environmental data. In April 2017, we appointed the Mott MacDonald Sweco joint venture organisation to deliver the design of the scheme. They will be working in partnership with key stakeholders such as yourselves, to discuss the project in detail, and to ensure stakeholders and communities affected by any aspect of the scheme are fully informed and properly engaged.

Further information on the scheme and on smart motorways can be found on the scheme webpage at http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/m3-junctions-9-to-14-smart-motorway/
In the meantime, if you require further information then please don’t hesitate to contact the Highways England Customer Care Centre on 0300 123 5000,
or email

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Robinson-Morris

Project Manager
Smart Motorway Programme
Major Projects