A new fourth lane has opened to traffic on the M3 Smart Motorway .
Main construction on a £174 million project to upgrade the M3 in Surrey and Hampshire to a Smart Motorway has been completed on time, Highways England claimed on Saturday (July 1).
Overnight on Friday (June 30), the final cones were removed and a new fourth lane is now open for traffic in both directions.
According to Highways England, work to test and commission the new smart motorway technology will continue for a short period , with the fully upgraded road opening to traffic later in July.
A 50mph limit is in place for safety reasons while the work is carried out.
Highways England project manager Pranav Devale said: "I am delighted that we've opened this vital motorway upgrade on time.
"This new stretch of Smart Motorway will tackle congestion and improve journey times for the 130,000 drivers who use it every day.
"Smart Motorways add vital extra capacity, improve journey times and maintain high levels of safety."
The project manager thanked drivers for their co-operation during the final testing phase.
He continued: "Drivers will also see better information about conditions on the road ahead and enjoy smoother journeys on the fully resurfaced road – as well as the Smart Motorway upgrade, we have also been carrying out the most extensive maintenance on the M3 since it was first built in 1971 in parallel with the Smart Motorway works."
The Smart Motorway upgrade has converted the hard shoulder of a 13.4 mile section of the M3 between Farnborough and the M25 to an extra traffic lane.
When the testing and commissioning is complete, the speed restriction will be lifted and all four lanes will operate at 70mph in normal conditions.
The testing phase is expected to last for up to three weeks.
According to the Highways England website, four sets of roadworks are scheduled to be completed by Saturday (July 8).
The following will be affected by everyday disruption due to lane closures from Monday (July 3) between 8pm to 5.30am to Friday (July 7).
The lanes will be closed for an extra hour and half over the relevant Friday night to Saturday morning.
- J3 westbound access
- Westbound within J3
- J4 eastbound access
- J4 westbound access
Additionally, two lanes between junctions 3 and 2 eastbound will be closed for varying periods from Monday (July 3) to Friday (July 21).
Drivers should expect disruption everyday between 8pm and 5.30am between Monday (July 3) to Friday (July 7). The lane will be closed for an extra hour and half going into Saturday morning.
The lanes will also be closed during these times between Monday (July 17) and Thursday (July 20) and will be closed for another hour and half until Friday (July 21).
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