Highways England state the M3 ‘Smart’ motorway is now open. Well, not entirely

The BBC reports that the 13.4 mile stretch of ‘smart’ motorway on the M3 from junction 2 to 4a is now open. Good news. Local residents have survived years of dislocation.

The BBC’s report and Highways England report say that there remains some work to complete the managed motorway project, such as testing the signals, and construction of the Woodlands Lane Bridge.

Forgive me for being a cynic. When the BBC reports,

Pranav Devale, project manager for Highways England, said the upgrade to the motorway has been completed on time.

and then in the same article says,

The 50mph speed restriction will be lifted and all four lanes will operate at 70mph in normal conditions once testing is complete, a spokesman for Highways England said. The testing phase is expected to last for up to three weeks.

and then through looking at the Highways England status report of the project, HERE, reveals the project isn’t yet finished, with ongoing road, and lane closures. Here’s one part of the report.

M3 eastbound within J3 | Eastbound | Road Works
Location : The M3 eastbound between junctions J3 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 05:30 from 3 July 2017 to 7 July 2017. Schedule : From 20:00 on 7 July 2017 to 07:00 on 8 July 2017. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 05:30 from 17 July 2017 to 20 July 2017. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2017 to 07:00 on 21 July 2017. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Note the final words, all lanes will be closed. I know the project won’t have overrun by much. Better to be honest and admit the slight overrun.

M3 motorway closures cause absolute mayhem

I hadn’t thought to report on our journey home on the M3 on Wednesday evening this week. Arriving at J4a at around 10.0pm, and around 10 minutes from home we were diverted off the motorway. Silly of us for not remembering that the motorway would be closed for overnight road works.

It’s happened to us before, and we’ve chosen to return via Fleet and Farnbourgh – a longish diversion. This time we decided to try the A30 diversion. Big mistake. The A30 and the Meadows roundabout was almost total gridlock. Squeezing through the traffic we found the route, back to Lightwater, via the Portsmouth Road past Frimley Park Hospital was accomplished in 40 minutes, not the less than 10 were the M3 to be open.

Why recall this typical M3 story, well, because again the M3 is closed for the whole weekend, from 9.opm Friday 16 June until 5:30am Monday 19 June. Local roads will be a nightmare.

Message from Highways England M3 Closure

We will be closing the M3 at two locations this weekend in order to carry out critical works.

The M3 junction 2 link road from the M25 junction 12, clockwise and anticlockwise, to the M3 southbound will be closed for a full weekend from 9.0pm Friday 16 June until 5:30am Monday 19 June in order to install a new drainage system and low noise surfacing.

In addition we will be closing the M3 between junctions 3 and 4 in both directions overnight in order to carry out low noise re-surfacing works, between 8.0pm and 7.0am on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June and between 10.0pm and 5.30am Sunday 18 June.

These closures are weather dependent and subject to successful safety checks.

Diversion routes for these  will be clearly signposted throughout the duration of the closure.

We advise all motorists to plan ahead, consider alternative routes if possible and allow extra time for their journeys.

Work fully underway to replace Woodlands Lane bridge

I’m sure you’ll know of the unfortunate saga about Woodlands Lane Bridge – a couple of my reports HERE and HERE. The bridge was demolished in November 2016, adding to traffic congestion on local roads. The planned re-opening of a new bridge is advertised as being in the Winter of 2017/18.

It maybe that you’ve missed seeing, on the M3, there’s work underway to replace the bridge. Below is my photo of the work, taken today. Subsequently, I visited the Balfour Beatty site on New Road to enquire as to when the work would be completed. See the latest Highways England progress report on the bridge replacement.

The answer  I received was they are hoping to complete by the end of 2017, perhaps might extend into January 2018 if things don’t go to plan. A key part of the work to be completed is to erect a bridge support pier in the central reservation.

The good news is that work on the replacement of the bridge is progressing, as it should be. Looks like it’ll end up as only 14 months without a bridge – still far too long.

This [bridge] is no more! [It] has ceased to be! …. and so on

Apologies, I couldn’t resist a pun on the Python Dead Parrot sketch.

Anyway, late this afternoon I visited the site of the bridge, which is no more…. ooh, stop it. I had a longish chat with one the Balfour Beatty workers, who said everything was on target for reopening the motorway early on Monday morning. It jolly well needs to too, since, were the horrors of the traffic congestion on local roads to continue into a working week doesn’t bear thinking about.

I did take a few photos on my visit,

Video of the blown down of Woodlands Lane Bridge over the M3

Good work by the Get Surrey team to capture the demolition of Windlesham’s Woodlands Lane Bridge over the M3, and reporting on clear up operations. ITV News also has a video of the bridge demoltion – see HERE.

Click on image to link to the video on the Get Surrey website.

woodlands-lane-bridge-blown-down-video

Woodlands Lane M3 bridge set for demolition this Saturday – and here’s how

4-woodlands-lane-m3-bridge-services-diversion_2Get Surrey has the details on the demolition of Woodlands Lane Bridge over the M3 in Windlesham – M3 weekend closure: Highways England reveals how bridge demolition project will be carried out.

It’s this weekend that the bridge is being demolished, with the M3 closed from 9.0pm on Friday to 530.am on Monday 21st November. Haven’t seen to see the bridge for a few weeks. Guess the re-routing of the services is now complete.

Want to know more? Highways England has a Woodlands Lane Bridge demolition special information newsletter, shown below.

Dates set for demolition of Windlesham’s Woodlands Lane Bridge over M3

The Highways England says that Woodlands Lane Bridge over the M3 in Windlesham is set for demolition between 9.0 pm on Friday 18th November 2016 to 5.30 am on Monday 21st November 2016. The M3 will be closed in both directions between junction 2 and 3 between these times.

woodlands-lane-m3-bridgeThe Windlesham Society additionally report that the closure will be subject to safety reviews and is weather dependent. Two consecutive contingency weekend dates are in place for 25-27 November and 2-5 December 2016.

I checked when I first wrote about this bridge. It was October 9th 2014, when I wrote about its weight limit being reduced to 3 tons. Since then there’ve been numerous other posts – the last on October 17th 2016, bemoaning that there won’t be a new bridge until early 2018.