HIGHWAYS England has unveiled new plans to transform junction 9 on the M3 at Winnall.

Following a public consultation, between July and August 2019, the agency has returned with alterations to the proposal after “some important comments were provided”.

These include the length available for vehicles to change lanes when joining the A34 from junction 9 and then heading on to the A33/Kings Worthy, the future traffic capacity of the proposed scheme and the length of time that the construction works would take.

A public consultation will begin tomorrow (Thursday) and continue to Thursday, July 8, and will provide full details of the planned work and timelines.

Highways England senior project manager Jon Roose said: “Our new plans for the M3 at junction 9 will increase capacity, help reduce journey times and improve safety.

"We have taken feedback from the previous consultation into account and we’re looking forward to showing people these new designs and talking through the improvements.

"I would urge anyone interested in the scheme to visit our virtual exhibition to find out more about the proposals and feedback their thoughts to us. There are also various ways they can engage the team directly to ask questions or just find out more.”

If approved the scheme would include widening the junction to create four lanes each way, and new road and roundabout design to provide free-flow links between the M3 and A34 for those travelling between Newbury and Southampton. It would also see the rearranging of the main junction 9 roundabout with a new elongated design.

The scheme would incorporate three new bridges and a number of other structures, including an improved bridge over the River Itchen, and new underpasses, along with revised walking and cycling routes and improved motorway slip-roads.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions there will be no events for people to attend in person. However, there will be a range of virtual ways people can get involved and understand the proposals, speak to the project team and ask questions about the scheme.

MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford Steve Brine said: “This project has been a long time in coming to even this stage but it’s no less important now, to the local and national infrastructure piece, than it was when first conceived.

“We’ve got to take people with us and get this done so I hope as many as possible will take part in the consultation.”

Hampshire County Councillor, Rob Humby, added: “We welcome the improvements that Highways England has planned for junction 9 of the M3. This location is pivotal, both strategically and locally, to Winchester, and we look forward to working with them on the project as it progresses.”

Highways England has proposed a scheme of £110-£130 million, one of the biggest in Hampshire in decades, with a proposed start date of 2023-24.

Junction 9 of the M3 connects south Hampshire with London, the Midlands and the North.

Roughly 6,000 vehicles an hour go through junction 9 during peak periods and it currently creates a bottleneck that causes significant delays.

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.

For more information, go to highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/south-east/m3-junction-9-improvements/