M3 motorway

M3 motorway

UK motorway routebox
motorway= M3
length-mi= 58.6
length-km= 94.3
direction= Northeast - Southwest
start= Sunbury-on-Thames (A316)
destinations= Staines
end= Southampton (M27)
opening-date= 1971
junctions= 2 -
euroroute= European route number small sign|05

The M3 motorway is a motorway in Hampshire and Surrey, England. It runs from Sunbury-on-Thames to Southampton and is approximately convert|59|mi|km|0|lk=on long. The motorway was built to relieve traffic on the A30 and A33, the congested single carriageway trunk roads that previously carried the traffic. Part of this motorway forms a section of European route E5 – these are not signed in the United Kingdom.


The motorway starts as a dual three lane route at Sunbury on Thames on the edge of South West London. It heads south west, crosses the River Thames on the M3 Chertsey Bridge to the north of Chertsey and passes under the M25 motorway, before continuing in a more westerly direction south of Camberley. From Junction 4 it runs across the northern suburbs of Farnborough it enters a more rural setting, crosses the South Western Railway Main Line, and passes close to the Basingstoke Canal before reaching the outskirts of Basingstoke. Turning south west again, it runs across the south of Basingstoke, before reaching Junction 8, where lane 1 becomes the A303 road and the motorway continues as a dual two lane road through open countryside and Micheldever Wood until it reaches the north of Winchester.

Forming the "Winchester Bypass" it widens to three lanes at Junction 9, continues directly south and then into a small loop around the east of the City. It runs through a deep cutting in Twyford Down and then proceeds south west again, crossing the South Western Railway Main Line a second time alongside the River Itchen and back into a more urban environment before crossing the Eastleigh to Romsey railway line and ending at the Chilworth Roundabout on the fringes of Southampton.


Construction of the M3 started in 1971, and was completed in stages until 1995. The opening dates, going from north east to south west, are as follows: [ [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m3losostat.htm The Motorway Archive – M3 Dates] ]
* Junction 1 to Junction 3 opened in 1974.
* Junction 3 to junction 8 opened in 1971. :An additional junction, numbered 4a, opened in April 1992 near Farnborough [http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/6363.aspx Highways Agency – M3 London to Southampton Route Management Strategy] .]
* Junction 8 to Junction 10 opened in 1985.:The original terminus of the M3 was with a temporary junction near junction 8 that fed directly into the A33 at Popham, built in 1971. When the M3 was extended to Junction 10 in 1985, this temporary junction was removed.

* Junction 10 to Junction 12 opened in 1995.:This section was constructed partly on the original route of the A33.
* Junction 12 to Junction 14 was designated as motorway in 1992.:The section from just south of Junction 11 to Junction 14 was constructed using the alignment of a section of the A33 road originally built in 1967. This was upgraded to motorway standards in 1991, although not formally designated a motorway until the completion of the section from Junction 10 around Winchester (see below). The westbound M27 motorway link was completed in 1975 and the eastbound link in 1986. The road was upgraded to motorway in 1992, but only as far as a temporary junction at Compton, south of the present-day Junction 11. This temporary junction was removed when the final section of M3 between this and Junction 10 was completed in 1995.

Twyford Down

The Department for Transport wanted to complete the M3 (between the current Junction 10 and 12) to avoid traffic having to use the A33, which was congested and dangerous. They had difficulty setting a satisfactory route for the motorway due to the proximity of a number of important sites, including St. Catherine's Hill, the city of Winchester, Winchester Cathedral and Twyford Down (which was a site of special scientific interest). A tunnel design was proposed, but rejected. There were large scale road protests from 1991 by local people and by environmental activists. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others petitioned the High Court, eight protesters were sent to prison for ignoring an injunction to stay away and the European Environmental Commissioner instructed the government to stop the project. The route was completed and opened to traffic in 1994. Shortly afterwards the government cancelled most of its remaining road building schemes.



*It is rumoured that the original negatives of the full-length cut of the film "The Wicker Man" are buried under the M3 after being used as part of a landfill. [cite web | url= http://www.us.imdb.com/title/tt0070917/trivia | title= Wicker Man (1973) - Trivia | publisher= Internet Movie Database | accessdate= 2008-03-23]
*On 1 April 2000, Pranksters painted a zebra crossing across three lanes of the M3 between junctions 4 and 4A on the northbound carriageway near Farnborough in Hampshire. [cite news | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/698144.stm | title= Police hunt motorway jokers | publisher= BBC News | date= 1 April 2000 | accessdate= 2008-03-23]
*A private exit off the northern roundabout at Junction 4a provides access to the UK headquarters of Sun Microsystems. [cite web | url= http://www.hants.gov.uk/scrmxn/c25650.html | publisher= Hampshire County Council | work= Roads & Development Sub-committee | title= Off Site Highway Works and Contributions - Report of the County Surveyor | date= 26 October 1998 | accessdate= 2008-03-23]
*The A325 has a roundabout junction with a minor road over the M3 between junctions 3 and 4, but there is no junction with the motorway.

ee also

* List of motorways in the United Kingdom


External links

** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m3/ Motorway Database – M3]
** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/badjunctions/3-31.shtml Bad Junctions – M3/A31]
* [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m3londsouth.htm The Motorway Archive – M3]

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