|From:||Sunbury, Middlesex (TQ098701)|
|Distance:||61 miles (98.2 km)|
|Meets:||M25, M27 A30, A33, A34|
|Route outline (key)|
London to Southampton motorway. Confusingly referred to as Exeter Radial in early documentation, though this was because it followed the A30 corridor, rather than any plan for the motorway to reach Devon. It also only partially forms the zone boundary between motorway zone 2 and motorway zone 3, with the section south of junction 8 being within zone 2.
The early parts of the motorway, opened in two phases between 1971 and 1974, was an offline replacement for the A30 covering the route between J1 and J8. At J8 the road would split into two, with one arm heading towards Exeter and the mainline heading towards Southampton. Both arms ended with a fork junction, joining their respective roads, after half a mile.
Before this was finished, it was already established that the M3 would eventually meet the M27, it was just a question of when.
In 1985 an extension opened to take the road to J10. Most of this was another simple offline upgrade, albeit to a lower D2M standard. However, for the last half-mile near Winchester, the road was an online upgrade of the A33 Winchester Bypass. This meant the road between J9 and J10 was opened before the bit in between, even though motorway restrictions were not applied.
When the road between J8 and J9 did open, motorway restrictions still finished at J9, and continued to do so until tie-in works could be completed at J10. During this time the southbound carriageway was marked as two lanes, even though it was ready for a third lane to join from J9.
The rest of the history of the road is perhaps best told by the A33, but suffice to say the majority of the remaining route, between Hockley and J14, was opened in 1991 after an extensive replacement of the existing dual carriageway. This can be seen in the concrete retaining walls all over the road, where the cuttings have been widened. This connected with the recently-added M27 eastbound.
In 1995 the most controversial section, between J10 and Hockley, was completed by creating the Twyford Cutting. This saw new layouts at the two junctions.
Thorpe Interchange, Surrey is the name of the junction between the M3 and M25 motorways. It is of a whirlpool design, and the M3 is has a lane painted out through the junction, which although it decreases the capacity through the junction actually helps the interchange move more freely due to the amount of interchanging traffic here.
Fleet services were for a long time the only services on the M3, and are located in a forest environment. The services did not open with the motorway, although the footbridge across the motorway was.
Winchester services opened in 2001 and are located between junctions 8 and 9. Unusually for a 21st century MSA, it is located on two sites, one for each direction, but less unusually are quite some distance from the named town, in this case Winchester. There is also no connection between the two sites, meaning that northbound traffic wishing to stay at the hotel must detour via junction 7.
|Link||2002 AADF||2006 AADF||2010 AADF||2014 AADF|
- The M3 Motorway (Popham—Hockley Section) (Variation) Scheme 1987 - This piece of legislation appears to be removing an older proposed alignment of trunk Winchester bypass in preparation for the Twyford Down route.
- The M3 Motorway (Compton-Bassett Section) (Revocation) (No.2) Scheme 1987 - This Scheme revokes the M3 Motorway (Compton-Bassett Section) Connecting Roads Scheme 1974, made under sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Highways Act 1959 (c. 25), which provided for the trunk road slip roads between the existing A33 Otterbourne and Chandlers Ford Bypass (which it was proposed to up-grade to become a motorway) and the local road system at Compton and Leigh Road, Eastleigh to become special road