THE speed limit on the M3 near Southampton is set to be reduced as works begin next week. 

Safety upgrades to the central barrier will get underway on Monday between Junction 9 for Winchester and Junction 14 for Southampton. 

Taking place over two phases, works will see the existing 10-mile long steel safety barrier upgraded to concrete, with narrow lanes be put in. 

Three lanes will be open to traffic throughout the work, though the speed limit will be reduced to 50mph. 

The hard shoulder will also be used as a running lane with CCTV coverage and free recovery in place. 

The new barriers are said to be "even stronger than metal ones" and will improve safety, as well as being "virtually maintenance free". 

Millat Ahmed, who is overseeing the upgrades for National Highways, said: “Concrete safety barriers significantly reduce the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another, improving safety and reducing the duration of incident-related congestion.

"This is an important safety upgrade and is a huge benefit to road users."

The first phase of work will be between Junction 12 to Junction 14 while the second will focus on the stretch between Junction 9 and Junction 12.

Once each phase has been completed central reservation work will begin.

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