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Balfour Beatty’s M3 Project becomes UK’s latest smart motorway

Balfour Beatty’s M3 project in Surrey and Hampshire has become the latest road in the UK to be upgraded to a smart motorway. 

The contract with Highways England is set to improve journey times for 130,000 drivers who use the road each day by converting the hard shoulder into a fourth lane and the introduction of cutting-edge technology. The smart technology works by setting speed limits to match conditions, while helping to spot any queuing traffic, incidents or broken down vehicles, and informing drivers about the road conditions ahead.

The full four lane carriageway is now open at 70mph in both directions, with the smart motorway technology actively managing traffic. Following completion of the main construction on 30 June, road users have been able to use the fourth lane with a 50mph speed restriction in place, while testing of the smart motorway technology was finalised.

Richard Reid, Balfour Beatty Project Director for M3 Managed Motorways, commented: “We are very pleased to have reached this project milestone as it enables road users to fully experience the benefits provided by the smart technology. Balfour Beatty is continuously investing in the latest technology and the success of projects such as the M3 are a testament to our expertise and capabilities.”

Shaun Pidcock, Director of Highways England’s smart motorway programme, said: “This is a significant upgrade for the M3 and will deliver real benefits for the 130,000 drivers who use it every day. We’ve added 26.8 miles of new lanes to this busy section of the M3 and completely overhauled the technology to give drivers better information to help with their journeys.

“Smart motorways create vital extra capacity, improve journey times and maintain our high levels of safety across the network. New technology will make the road more resilient to disruption, improving journeys by using variable speed limits that will help tackle frustrating stop-start traffic and giving drivers better information on conditions ahead.”