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M27 closure will save lives say road chiefs
7:25am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
MAJOR roadworks that are forcing the closure of one of the county’s busiest routes tonight and tomorrow will save lives, insist motorway bosses.
A stretch of the eastbound M27 will be shut for 32 hours to allow essential work that will prevent the build up of surface water on the motorway after heavy rain.
The closure is expected to cause motoring misery for drivers heading to and from Southampton, but those in charge of the work say they have worked hard to choose a quiet weekend to ensure as little disruption as possible.
Highways Agency chiefs admitted that there is no good weekend to close the motorway, but with no cruise sailings in Southampton and Saints playing away from home, this weekend was seen as the best, despite it being Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Lengthy diversions As previously reported by the Daily Echo, the motorway will be closed between junction 4, where it meets the M3, and junction 5, near Eastleigh, leaving motorists forced to take lengthy diversions through Eastleigh and Bassett.
The closure had been expected to start at 9pm on Friday, but after negotiations between Southampton City Council, the Highways Agency and the police, this has been put back until 9pm on Saturday, with it reopening at 5.30am on Monday.
Cllr Asa Thorpe, the city council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Safety improvements on this motorway section will save lives.”
The work will see the road resurfaced so that rain water drains from the road rather than collect in the middle, as it does currently after heavy downpours, therefore improving safety for the thousands of motorists who use it every day.
During the closure, M3 traffic will be diverted off at junction 14 to follow a diversion via the A33, A27 and A335.
M27 traffic will be diverted onto the northbound M3 to junction 12 to follow a diversion via the A335, Woodside Avenue, Passfield Avenue, Chestnut Avenue and Stoneham Lane.
These roads through Eastleigh were judged to be better equipped to deal with the increased traffic than the route that motorists would have to take if they came off at junction 13.
Phil Sheppard, Highways Agency asset manager, said: “Safety is top priority for the Highways Agency.
“We have considered other options but this has proved to be the best, safest and most effective way to do it.”
Police are also stepping up speed check patrols along the diversion routes in a bid to ensure those coming off the motorway are keeping to the limits.