60mph speed limit planned for M3 motorway

14 Feb, 2014 12:17pm Alex Yau

New 60mph M3 speed limit planned as part of £174million expansion to save commuters 5 minutes a day

A 60mph speed limit is planned for the M3 motorway, following the intriduction of the same smart motorway strategy for the M1. These new limits are the result of government plans to combat emissions and congestion.

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This three-mile smart motorway and its 60mph restriction will run between J3 at Lightwater and J4 near Farnborough between 7am and 7pm.

The 60mph limit covers part of a 13.4-mile stretch between J2 and J4a where additional lanes will be opened in both directions to improve capacity - at a cost of £174million.

The Highways Agency (HA) hopes this new motorway can ease congestion flowing in and out of London. Traffic currently enters the capital on a 45mph average in the mornings and exits at a 56mph average in the evenings.

According to the HA, the motorway expansion would cut journey times by four minutes in the morning and one minute in the evening, but the 60mph limit is needed to ensure air pollution does not breach legal limits following the planned expansion of the route.

The HA also stressed that these restrictions may be lifted within four years as emission reducing technology in cars improve.

Robert Goodwill, the Roads Minister, said: “The M3 is heavily congested and the introduction of this smart motorway will help improve journey times by smoothing traffic flow.”

Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1

Another 60mph restriction on the M1 between South Yorkshire and the East Midlands was announced last month, affecting junction 28 at Mansfield and junction 35a at Sheffield and Rotherham.

Four other major roads covering 38 miles of the UK’s 4,300-mile strategic road network may soon get the same restrictions.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "The AA believes that the extra capacity is required and that ironically 60mph speeds at peak times would actually speed up journeys.

“However a majority of drivers question whether reducing motorway speeds will make any difference to air pollution as 69 per cent see lorries as the main culprit.”

David Bizley, technical director of the RAC, said: “Coming hot on the heels of the M1 announcement, the M3 plan invites the question as to whether any of the eight other planned all-lane running, smart motorway schemes which the Government have heavily invested in will also need to have reduced speed limits put in place to protect air quality.”

Disqus - noscript

Another load of bunkum by DaFT.

Just another excuse to lower the speed limit & install enforcement cameras to generate more revenue.

As a resident living within 1 mile of the at Farnborough. The M3 pollution news is not unexpected as we have to suffer pollution from the M3 and the flight paths from Heathrow and Farnborough Business airport. It has been thought that the pollution exceeds the European legislation levels and in certain conditions it is difficult to breath and the air becomes greasy and foliage withers. The current proposals seem to be something that will make very little diffrerance to our poor environment.

It seems Auto Express censors its readers comments
as one of my comments has been removed, what has happened to free speech? Very

Well why do we lower it, surely its makes more sense to make the main roads more efficient and moving quicker so that we cut down journeys by more than a minute. Half of Europe have no limit and i found it much better, especially in german where they actually have less incidents. Its the getting off and through the single carage roads where its too slow at peak times with too many crossing and junctions where slowing and idling generates emissions. Where i can do a night journey in less than half the time unlike doing it at 9am.

Just to annoy the government, i will run in high gear generating more co2, its the efficiency not speed that causes the problems.

I think the worlds gone crazy. If they want to reduce Pollution and reduce accidents, stop drivers putting their lights on in day light hours without without cause or reason.