WORK on smart motorway schemes in Hampshire continues but non-essential roadworks have been put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Highway bosses have confirmed that multi-million pound work to turn part the M3 between J 9 and J14 and part of the M27, between J4 and J11 , into a smart motorway continues.

Highways England, which is responsible for the schemes, said measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 have been taken. But it warned that the situation may change depending on government’s instructions.

Meanwhile, Hampshire County Council has suspended all non-essential construction and maintenance work.

Highways England said it is hoping to remain to programme and that it is impossible to say at the moment what effect the pandemic will have on schemes long term.

But in a statement it said: “Roadworks affect all journeys which is why it is important they are completed as quickly as possible. Our roads remain open and we will continue to maintain the network, ensuring that life-saving medicine, equipment, supplies and healthcare staff can travel to where they are needed most. All our sites have strict safeguarding measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and none of our sites are open to the public.”

Meanwhile the county council’s decision means that schemes such as the Botley and Stubbington bypass, improvements of the A3025 / B3397 Hamble Lane, J7 and J9 of the M27 as well as Parkway South roundabout have been put on hold.

The authority said it is directing all available highways resources to emergency and safety related work on the road network during the coronavirus outbreak.

The council said it is working with all its contractors on measures to wind down sites for all non-essential road schemes to a point where they can be safely suspended. The decision will be reviewed and some works may resume where it is safe to do so and compliance with government guidelines can be achieved, according to the council. “Where work can continue in line with Public Health advice on social distancing, work will continue on both new and existing projects at stand-alone construction sites where they are away from the public highway”, it added.