WORK on one of Winchester’s worst bottlenecks for traffic needs to begin sooner, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has said.

The plan for a multi-million pound upgrade for the M3 junction 9 was originally delayed by Highways bosses to avoid a clash with other schemes it is running.

It was due to start in March 2020 but was pushed back to mid-2021. It is set to be fully open to traffic by 2023.

Mark Baulch, head of policy and representation at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is very supportive of this project and we want to get the M3 J9 moving.

“The proposal itself is welcomed and the initial plans look very good. It remains the delivery time that is the issue.

“The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s call to action to members and your readers is to provide data to support Highways England in this project, as we endeavour to shorten the time period from the current expected start date of June 2021.

“Also to respond to the current consultation, or let me have their comments to collate into our own response, before the closing date of Monday, February 19.”

He added that there had been “great representation” from the chamber’s members at a business briefing last Thursday.

As reported in the Chronicle, the congested motorway junction is set to be redesigned in a scheme set to cost around £100m.

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It will be adapted to create dedicated free flow lanes, allowing drivers travelling between the M3 and the A34 to avoid using the junction roundabout.

The roundabout itself would be redesigned into a ‘dumbbell’ layout to reduce congestion and improve safety, while improved pedestrian and cycling routes will complete the gap in the National Cycling Network.

The proposals are also intended to help to support developments at Southampton container port which are expected to increase freight traffic on the M3 and A34 by one third of the current levels.

There are public consultation events on February 10 at Winnall Community Centre from 10.30am to 4.30pm, February 16 at Kings Worthy Community Centre from 2pm to 8pm and the next day from 10.30pm to 4.30pm.

Responses to the consultation can also be completed on the Highways England website or emailed to