WORK is set to start next year on a multi-million-pound plan to ease congestion by upgrading two Hampshire roundabouts.

The scheme, which involves junction 8 of the M27 and the neighbouring Windhover roundabout, is part of a multi-agency attempt to improve access to Southampton.

Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council are planning to upgrade the eastern approaches to the city.

Work on the two roundabouts will be carried out by Highways England, which says the scheme is likely to cost between £20m and £25m.

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A report published by the organisation cites the need to improve road safety in the area, saying 43 “recorded incidents” occurred at junction 8 between 2011 and 2015.

It adds: “Peak time congestion at Windhover roundabout is creating problems for local traffic. This causes regular delays and is linked to the number of accidents in the area.

“If traffic congestion is not addressed, planned and aspirational housing and employment growth will be affected and air quality will get worse.”

The 30,000 drivers who use the two junctions every day are often caught up in long tailbacks at peak periods.

Project manager Adriana Chirovici said: “The upgrades will not only make the roundabouts safer but also increase capacity on these heavily congested routes. More than 500 people took part in the consultation and today’s announcement reflects their views and feedback.”

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Hampshire County Council is planning to upgrade the A3025 Hamble Lane between the Windhover roundabout to the north and Portsmouth Road/ Lowford Hill to the south.

The work is due to start in the winter of 2020/21.

Cllr Rob Humby, the council’s executive member for economy and transport, said: “We very much support the Highways England scheme for improvements to Windhover roundabout and junction 8 and will continue to work closely with them as the scheme is developed.

“These improvements are a vital part of improving traffic flow and reducing journey times across the surrounding area.”

Southampton City Council is planning to upgrade ten junctions along the A3024 between Botley Road and the A334 Bitterne Road East.

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, the council’s cabinet member for transport said: “We are making sure we take a joined-up approach with our regional and national partners to improve transport into Southampton.”

Highways England is currently converting the M27 into a smart motorway by turning the hard shoulder into a fourth lane between junctions 4 and 11.