Hampshire is a jewel along the south coast, boasting idyllic countryside and bustling cities. This entices millions of visitors to travel to the county each year - but is the infrastructure sufficient to cope with this demand on the roads?

According to the Department of Transport, 9.23 billion vehicle miles were travelled on roads in Hampshire in 2022. Joint with Kent, this is second only to Essex which faced 9.4 billion vehicle miles in 2022.

Statistics for road usage increase every year as more people rely on motor vehicles.

Throughout the country, there is a struggle occurring on the roads as the government attempts to optimise pre-existing infrastructure whilst balancing the ever-growing volume of traffic.

In 2023, the government announced that 14 planned or previously paused smart motorway works were being scrapped.

In Hampshire, this meant that the plans for Junctions 9-14 on the M3 would no longer become an all-lane smart motorway. For the population, this had many positives, as a large proportion were not happy with the scheme to begin with and it prevented over £1 bn being spent on it, but still left miles of motorways still needing improvements without alternative plans.

This struggle can be seen on minor roads through Hampshire also, as repeated gas and water line repairs tear up residential roads. Attempts at resurfacing afterwards only scar the roads further. As of February 28, there were 39 ongoing road works in the Winchester area (according to StreetGuide), the vast majority of these being completed by gas or water companies. There is a significant need for maintenance and improvement on Hampshire’s roads but very few plans are in place that can fulfil this demand.

Fromond Road in Weeke is particularly affected due to frequent use by large vehicles and numerous works having taken place along it recently. As it is not a major route it has thus not been properly maintained.

Speaking on the quality of the road’s surface, long-term resident Sue called it a “hazard”.

She said: “Some of the potholes along the road are so large that I am surprised there haven’t been many accidents along it. I fear one day I may damage my car if it continues degrading at the rate it is now.”

There does seem to be some action being taken, though, as in the Government’s 2023 budget an additional £200m was allocated for the Department of Transport’s Potholes Fund. This was then shared between councils, with Hampshire receiving £5,954,400. 

The extent of such persisting road issues at both local and national scales, despite attempts at rectifying them, raise questions as to whether there is a one-size-fits-all solution to them, or if there are more influencing factors that the government must first rectify.

  • This article was written by Beck Penfold, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.