THOUSANDS of drivers have been caught speeding on a Hampshire motorway over the past month.

Hampshire police confirmed that 6,000 motorists were caught exceeded the 50mph speed limit on the M27 since January 7, 2019.

This comes as work to turn the M27 between junction four and 11 into a smart motorway gets under way.

Hampshire police could not confirm where exactly the 6,000 vehicles were caught but a spokesman for the force said the speed cameras were currently in place between junctions four and eight eastbound and between junctions four and five westbound.

Now highways bosses and Hampshire police are urging motorists to respect the speed limit.

In a Tweet, the force said: “With narrow lanes and no hard shoulder, this puts road workers, breakdowns and other road users at a higher risk of a collision and injury. Please stick to the limit.”

As previously reported, work for the smart motorway scheme, run by Highways England, started on January 2.

As part of the project the existing hard shoulder will be converted into a fourth lane and new CCTV cameras, electronic information signs and signals on gantries will be installed.

Now a spokesman for Highways England said: “Safety is our number one priority and motorists should respect our road workers – slow down near roadworks and obey speed limits and signs.”

Eastleigh MP Mims Davies added: “Having previously worked in road safety, I know how crucial it is that all road users pay attention to the speed limits and signage in place and also drive suitably according to the weather conditions. This is particularly the case where 50mph speed limits have been put in place alongside roadworks, with road workers in close proximity to oncoming traffic.

“All drivers must be in no doubt that these speed limits are put in place to safeguard our local road workers and ensure that they are able to get on, while also keeping traffic moving. Some drivers may feel these reduced speed limits are frustrating, but it is imperative to be understanding of this due to the safety of the people working on our local roads.”

The part of the M27 which links Southampton and Portsmouth is often congested at peak hours.

But highways bosses hope the new technology-driven approach will tackle the issue, while also increasing capacity on the road and improve journey reliability.