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Safety barriers fail again in M3 crash

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SAFETY BARRIERS on a busy motorway flyover near Southampton were breached last week for the second time in two years.

Two men aged 22 and 23 died early last Saturday when their Jaguar XJS sports car burst into flames after plummeting from the elevated M3 and crashing on to the verge of the M27 below. Debris from the Jaguar struck two vehicles on the M27, without injuring their drivers.

A police spokesman said the Jaguar demolished a long section of the edge barrier including eight supports.

'Two years ago an HGV did much the same,' he said. 'The barrier was replaced afterwards, so the supports should have been in good condition.'

The car is thought to have been spinning out of control when it hit the barrier. However, it still had enough velocity to soar across most of the M27 carriageway before hitting the grass verge - suggesting the car, which has a top speed electronically limited to 250kph, was travelling well in excess of the speed limit.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said it was still awaiting the results of the accident inquiry.

But he pointed out that even when motorways cross each other it is normally not considered necessary to use high performance barriers such as those used on rail overbridges.

'In any case the high performance barriers weigh much more than the standard version, and most motorway flyovers are not designed to take the extra loading,' the spokesman added.

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