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Balfour Beatty bags £129M M3 upgrade

Balfour Beatty has been awarded the £129M contract to upgrade part of the M3 through Hampshire and Surrey to a ‘smart’ motorway.

The 20km stretch of the M3 between Junction 2 – the interchange with the M25 – and Junction 4a at Fleet will be upgraded to a four-lane motorway by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent running lane.

Electronic signs, operated by a regional control centre, will be installed to manage the flow of traffic in response to driving conditions.

The M3 passes through Chobham Common, one of the largest areas of heathland in Surrey, and Balfour Beatty’s design will take into account ecological considerations and aim to reinstate and enhance natural habitats.

The contractor will mobilise at the beginning of August. Main construction works starts this autumn with completion scheduled for spring 2017.

Construction activity will include installing and refurbishing gantries, new static and variable signs, concrete safety barriers, drainage and surfacing works.

The contract has been awarded through the Highways Agency’s national major projects framework.

Last month, Balfour Beatty was awarded the £184M M60 J8 to J20 smart motorway scheme.

Balfour Beatty executive chairman Steve Marshall said: “The Highways Agency’s approach to using technology in this way reduces the costs of the road network, provides additional capacity and improves journey times.”

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