IT IS a bottleneck that brings frustration to nearly 100,000 drivers every day.
Motorists are constantly caught in jams at the junction of the M27 and M271 at Nursling, near Southampton, one of the busiest in Hampshire.
Now roads chiefs are planning a multi-million pound makeover in a bid to cut the queues – but thousands of motorists will face months of delays while the work is carried out.
The Highways Agency is due to begin at least eight months worth of roadworks as they add extra lanes from this summer.
Businesses leaders and council bosses have welcomed the £2.3m project and said it will reduce congestion and bring benefits to the economic development of the area.
But the 96,000 motorists who use the junction every day will face traffic misery from July until the end of March.
The Highways Agency is urging drivers to avoid using this junction while the work takes place.
Workers will create a third lane on the slip road off the westbound carriageway of the M27 and both the northbound and southbound approaches to the motorway from the M271, as well as putting in additional traffic lights.
They will also replace the hard shoulder on the eastern side of the roundabout with a third lane to ease traffic on the roundabout heading from Romsey or the eastbound carriageway of the M27 towards Southampton.
Diversions will be put in place while the junction is closed overnight and some lanes on both the M27 and M271 will be closed during the day.
The work is part of the Government’s motorway £300m “pinch point” programme which aims to remove bottlenecks on the nation’s roads.
Highways Agency asset manager Philip Sheppard said: “The improvements we’re planning for junction three of the M27 will help to reduce congestion for each journey that is made on it every day.
“They will also help support growth in the Solent economy, underpinning the creation of jobs at the Adanac Park development as well as trade growth at Southampton docks.
“We’ll be working both during the day and overnight, with the work carefully planned to keep disruption to an absolute minimum.
“We’ll publish full details about the project ahead of work starting this summer.”
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce said that the improvements would help improve access to Southamp-ton, which would be necessary after the planned development of Adanac Park, which sits alongside the M271, is complete.
Earlier this year landowners Barker-Mill Estates annou-nced plans to create 47,000 sq m of business space spread over four plots in Adanac Park alongside the M271.
The project will include redevelopment of Yew Tree Farm, plus the creation of 49 homes and an 80-bedroom care home.
The estate claims this will bring 3,600 new jobs to the area.
Work has already begun on a new 43,000 sq m Lidl regional distribution centre at Adanac Park serving the German supermarket giant and creating 400 jobs before the end of 2014.
Chairman of the Chamber’s planning and transportation committee Mark Miller said: “The Chamber has been asking for improvements at this junction for quite a while because we see the growth at Adanac Park and in Southampton generally which required better access, so that is why we’re pleased that this will help the economy of the area.
“The chamber knows that it is a very congested area at peak hours and this affects the freight movements in and out of Southampton and affects the port traffic as well as general commuters, so we welcome the proposed improvements.
“We think they will improve access and reliability of traffic levels into Southampton, as well as Romsey.
“We recognise it needs to be done but we would like to see coordination with all other major roadworks going on at the moment and to keep liaising with the major stakeholders and businesses including the Chamber, which represents all the businesses in the area and that covers everyone including the port. We welcome any improvements on to the strategic roads into and out of Southampton, but want that to go hand-in-hand with improvements to railways and public transport facilities to increase access to the city.”
Hampshire County Council also welcomed the improvements, but they say more needs to be done in the future to keep up with development in the area.
County council leader Roy Perry said: “Of course the roadworks will cause issues, but it is a problem that needs solving and when it is done it will have benefits.
“It will bring benefits to traffic coming from the east towards Southampton and Romsey and also benefits for traffic coming from Romsey wanting to get onto the motorway.
“The M3 and M271 are the export gateway from the Midlands to the Port of Southampton, however, junction three is also a major part of that route.
“I think I would certainly say that the sooner we get it the better.
“Junction three on the M27 is an important junction.
“It should make improvements to the economic development of the area.
“I only see this as one step to the improvements. I think there needs to be further improvements in the future to keep up with future demands on the junction.”
Southampton City Council declined to comment on the proposed roadworks.