The Highways Agency is proposing to introduce a 60mph limit on a three-mile section only of the M3 from Junction 3 at Lightwater to Junction 4 near Farnborough between 7am-7pm. The speed limit reduction is required due to the increase in capacity on the M3 from the planned Smart Motorway scheme as emissions from extra traffic will exceed local air quality limits on a short section of the route, unless that section is limited to 60pmh for some of the 24-hour period.
The speed restriction is simply to bring air quality into legal limits and the Highways Agency expects to be able to remove it within four years (2019) of the scheme opening to traffic.
RAC technical director David Bizley said: “Given the landmark announcement in early January about a reduced speed limit of 60mph on a 32-mile stretch of the M1 in order to protect air quality in the area, this should really not come as a surprise.
“It does, however, come hot on the heels of the first announcement and 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?
“News that the restriction should lead to higher average traffic speeds on this stretch is something of a consolation for commuters, but others who travel outside of peak times will no doubt wonder why they can’t drive at 70mph on a clear motorway.”