AVERAGE speed cameras limiting traffic to 50mph are being installed on a stretch of Hampshire motorway as it is transformed into a controversial smart motorway.

National Highways, formally Highways England, has confirmed that average speed cameras are being installed on the M3 between Winchester and Southampton as they prepare to start work on a multimillion pound upgrade.

The speed will be limited to 50mph initially, said the organisation, while work starts to upgrade the M3 between junction 9 (Winchester/A34 interchange) and junction 14 (M27 Southampton interchange) to an all-lane running smart motorway.

The work is set to cost £139 million and it is believed work will finish in 2023 to 2024.

The scheme will link to the forthcoming smart motorway on the M27.

The cameras will be located between junctions 9 and 14 in both directions this autumn.

The cameras will only be switched on once work has begun on the upgrades and are in place to ensure the safety of those working on the motorway.

National Highways will be sharing detailed plans for the M3 junction 9-14 motorway upgrade during a number of public information events next month, which they are currently preparing for.

Once the organisation has full details of the events, information will be published on how people can get involved and find out more about the work.

National Highways project manager Usamah Khalid said: “Connecting people and communities is at the heart of what we do and we have been working hard on our preparations to start work on the upgrade of the M3 between Winchester and Southampton.

“As part of these preparations we will be installing average speed cameras between junctions 9 and 14 in both directions this autumn.

"These cameras will only be operational once work starts and are a vital part of making sure we can deliver the upgrade safely."

The news comes after it was revealed that the M27 smart motorway scheme has been delayed by a further eight months.

As reported in July, Highways England has announced the work will not be completed until “spring 2022”.

The set back has been met with frustration by leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Keith House, who described the scheme as “a failure”.