Upcoming Road Works

Published: 30 June 2022

As you know, we’ve been upgrading the M27 between junctions 4 and 11, and a new fourth lane between Portsmouth and Southampton was opened to traffic earlier this year.

This week we’re changing the speed limit on that stretch, which marks the lifting of the final restriction on the upgraded stretch and means you can now drive at national speed limit.
Drivers were kept at a lower maximum speed limit while we adjusted the technology which detects stopped vehicles. We continue to make adjustments, but our testing shows the technology is working satisfactorily and we can now increase maximum speed.
We’d like to thank everyone for their co-operation and understanding during this calibration phase. It is important to note that from this point onwards further calibration continues as we go through a process of continual improvement.

All motorways, with or without a hard shoulder, are designed and operated with drivers centrally in mind, to be easy and straightforward to drive on. There is a whole system of safety features, both technological and human, work together to keep you moving safely on motorways without a hard shoulder. These include:
⦁ Variable speed limits to help keep traffic moving, reducing frustrating stop-start traffic and making journeys quicker  
⦁ Clearly signed and orange-coloured emergency areas set back from the road and with telephones linking directly to our control rooms  
⦁ Detection systems to monitor traffic for changes in flows  
⦁ Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) technology which can identify a stationary vehicle, typically within 20 seconds 
⦁ CCTV cameras that our operators are able to move and zoom to monitor and manage congestion and incidents, where notified. The system has the ability to see 100% of the carriageway Signs and signals to provide information to drivers which can alert them to hazards ahead 
⦁ Red X signs to close lanes to other traffic when a stopped vehicle is identified  
⦁ Enforcement cameras to deter the minority who break speed limits and ignore Red X signs  

If you’d like to know more about the main features of smart motorways, and advice and guidance on safer driving and what to do in an emergency, visit our ‘Driving on motorways’ hub.

The project is not quite finished, and you may still notice some activities continuing on or close to the road. You can find out more about this work on the project webpage.


Transport Select Committee

We’ve listened to public concerns about smart motorways, and we are fully committed to taking forward the additional measures the Transport Committee has recommended. We’re doing this because safety is our absolute priority and we want drivers to not just be as safe as possible, but also to feel safe on our network. 

The new radar Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) technology identifies a stopped vehicle, typically within 20 seconds, and provides an alert to our control room. At the same time, it can also automatically display a ‘report of obstruction’ message to warn oncoming drivers of a stopped vehicle ahead. Our operators then set a Red X sign to close one or more lanes, adjust speed limits and deploy traffic officers.
The M27 scheme will open with its originally planned 13 emergency areas, however, we will consider retrofitting additional emergency areas on this stretch at a later date.
You can read more about how we’re delivering the recommendations from the Transport Select Committee’s on our website.

How you can contact us
If you have any queries about our work or want to know more, please email
M27J4-11SmartMotorway@highwaysengland.co.uk or call us on 0300 123 5000.