HIGHWAYS England is holding a public consultation over its major scheme to transform junction nine of the M3 at Winnall.

The proposal is to rebuild the junction to remove the congestion point of the traffic lights on the roundabout where the M3, A34 and A272 meet.

The agency proposes a scheme of £50-£100 million, one of the biggest in Hampshire in decades, with a proposed start date of 2021-22.

Initial designs provoked concerns about traffic safety as it envisages northbound traffic leaving the M3 onto the A34 and then having to leave for the A33 within a few hundred yards.

The consultation will run for eight weeks and finishes on August 27.

The agency held a briefing for local businesses at the Wessex Hotel yesterday as the Chronicle went to press.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Six public information events will be held:

Saturday July 6, 10.30am-4.30pm, Winchester Guildhall;

Wednesday July 10, 2-8pm, Winchester Guildhall;

Friday July 12, 2-8pm, Community Centre, Fraser Road, Kings Worthy;

Saturday July 13, 10.30am-4.30pm, Community Centre, Fraser Road, Kings Worthy;

Saturday July 20, 10.30am-4.30pm, Tesco Extra, Winnall;

Saturday August 3, 10.30am-4.30pm, Tesco Extra, Winnall;

The events will give the public more detail about the work taking place, an opportunity to meet the project team and to ask questions.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Junction nine of the M3 connects south Hampshire with London, the Midlands and the North.

Roughly 6,000 vehicles an hour use it during peak periods and it currently creates a bottleneck that causes significant delays throughout the day.

Traffic is particularly heavy between the M3 and the A34 with frequent queues on the northbound off-slip of the M3 which are a safety risk during peak periods.

To reduce the queues there is more green time allocated to the traffic lights on the northbound off-slip of the M3 and the A34 link. This amended sequencing, in turn, causes lengthy queues on A272 Spitfire Link and Easton Lane during the morning and evening peak periods

City MP Steve Brine said: “This has been one of the longest-running issues over the past decade, and I have fought for years for improvements to junction nine.

“We have a massive opportunity to make a real difference here, so I urge all constituents to take a look and take an active part in shaping the scheme. We have to get this over the line.”