M3 junctions 2-4a: Smart motorway


M3 junctions 2-4a: Smart motorway

We are currently making improvements to the M3 by constructing a smart motorway between junctions 2 and 4a. This section of the M3 is used over 130,000 vehicles a day and sees higher than normal levels of congestion at peak times.

Scheme stats

Region: South East
Start date: 18 February 2015
Cost: £157.9 million
Type: Major Scheme
End date: June 2017
Length: 13.4 miles/21.6km
Project status

M3 junctions 2-4a: Smart motorway

We propose to improve the M3 by making it a smart motorway between junctions 2 and 4.

Progress report

We’re now into the second year of construction. In the last year we have:
  • done over 1,086,180 man hours of work
  • constructed 18 gantry bases and fully installed 12 gantries
  • installed over 15,000 metres of concrete central reserve barrier
  • installed over 21,000 metres of drainage
  • added an oil and sediment tank to filter out pollutants and carry away extra rainfall
  • added 149 new environmental barrier panels
Next we will:
  • carry out earthworks on the verges area so that construction can begin
  • excavate and install new drainage
  • construct platforms for the new gantries
  • install new electrical cabinets
  • begin work on the emergency refuge areas
  • construct retaining walls
  • remove vegetation and surfacing

Community news

The M3 project is a member of the Community Matters Partnership Project The project recently achieved a score of 43 out of 50 for our first Considerate Constructors Audit. Some residents who live close to the project route have raised concerns about possible noise and visual intrusion from the works. We take your concerns very seriously and we have made sure we consider these in the project's ongoing development and design. In order to build the scheme with as little negative impact as possible we will:
  • maintain 3 lanes of traffic on both carriageways
  • use a 50mph speed limit
  • provide a free recovery service for those in need through the works
  • limit full closures to a minimum and manage when full closures take place to avoid conflicting with local events
In order to help keep traffic moving through the works, we employ a 24/7 CCTV system with 100% coverage throughout the scheme in order to pick up any incidents, accidents or vehicular breakdowns. All vehicles are recovered free of charge and as quickly as possible by our dedicated on-site vehicle recovery service. Drivers and their passengers are taken to our customer care centre where they can wait in a safe, comfortable environment, while making arrangements for their onward journey.

Community relations

Some of the things we have been doing in the community:
  • 6 of our managers assisted with mock interviews at Wavell School in March 2015
  • gave “Raising Aspirations” talks to students studying trades at Farnborough College of Technology, 6 and 13 May 2015
  • held workshops with 100 students during Robert Mays Science Fair on 29 April, 30 - activities included bridge building out of paper and sticky tape
  • gave “This is Civil Engineering” talks to students at Farnborough Sixth Form College in November 2014 and June 2015
  • attended Careers Day at Fernhill School, 29 June 2015
  • held a mini exhibition at Fluor (a Community Matters Project partner) for their 1,200 local employees, 12 May 2015
  • members of the project team took part in a six-a-side football league organised by Farnborough Business Park (a Community Matters Project partner), raising funds for a Community Matters charity work

Business news

The M3 junctions 2 to 4a project has been awarded National Skills Academy status, supported by Highways England and managed by the Construction Industry Training Board. Objectives of the National Skills Academy:
  • upskilling of workforce including the supply chain
  • working with local organisations to provide work opportunities for local people
  • providing work experience, placements and traineeships to encourage young people into the industry
What we have done so far:
  • created 23 jobs
  • facilitated 21 sub-contractors to start NVQ
  • given 12 students of 14-19 yrs old work experience placements
  • offered a trainee role with the Health, Safety & Environment Team to one of those who came in on a work experience placement
  • helped one of our cleaners gain a role with us as a 24/7 CCTV operator
  • taken on two young trainee lab technicians – one male, one female
  • set up a Special Needs placement programme: 2 young people came along to the project once a week for 3 hours
  • Advanced Health & Safety Accreditations: 68
  • We have 15 sub-contractors continuously collaborating on all training.

Environment impact

Our Environment Team works with a full-time ecologist on this project. We work together to protect wildlife located within the works area. Wildlife that has been found on site alongside the M3 junctions 2 to 4a smart motorway project and successfully relocated or removed is as follows:
  • slow worms (translocated to Chobham Common)
  • smooth newts (relocated to Hawley Meadows)
  • grass snakes (moved to safe/suitable location behind environmental barrier)
  • badgers - badger sett closed off using one way badger gates
We have gained approval from Surrey Wildlife Trust and Natural England to carry out small amounts of work within Chobham Common. We have carefully planned to make sure there are no negative impacts on the common due to construction works, without delaying our construction programme. The Site of Special Scientific Interest status of the common extends onto the motorway verge. Following works on these verges, Surrey Wildlife Trust will supply seeds from the common to add to the grass seed mix we will use for the verge. This will replenish the verge and maintain these important habitats. Our contractor Balfour Beatty has
  • established between our contractor Balfour Beatty and the Senior Ranger of Surrey Wildlife Trust
  • carried out water monitoring on the common to demonstrate to Surrey Wildlife Trust that the water quality has not been reduced due to pollution from the motorway works
  • surveyed bird nesting sites before and during construction to show that the works were having no ill effects on protected nesting birds: woodlark, Dartford warbler and nightjar
  • We have produced some formal reports on environmental impact. You can find these under Publications.

    The project team

    • Highways England
    • Balfour Beatty
    Our contractor, tasked with delivering this project in accordance with our requirements
    • URS
    • Design engineer and our agent on-site

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