HC Deb 12 May 1982 vol 23 cc743-4
11. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to be in a position to make a decision on the route of the final section of the M3 motorway.

Mrs. Chalker

Consultants are investigating the improvement of the trunk route south of Bar End, Winchester, and I expect their report by the end of this year. We must then allow time for the further statutory procedures that will be needed, but I hope that we can reach a decision in 1984.

Mr. Mitchell

Does the Under-Secretary accept that her reply shows a sense of complacency and that we shall have a marvellous motorway that ends in the middle of nowhere? Is the hon. Lady aware that the Winchester bypass is completely blocked, that it has become a danger spot, that it cannot cope with the existing volume of traffic and that there are massive hold-ups? Will the hon. Lady speed things along as quickly as possible?

Mrs. Chalker

I am anxious to speed this matter along. The hon. Gentleman knows that the M3 Popham to Bar End part of the work will proceed in the autumn of this year. But a problem exists in the section known as the Bar End to Compton section. This difficult route, which runs between meadows and a chalk hill, is now being investigated by independent consultants. We are investigating all possible solutions, but the hon. Gentleman will know that this is the most difficult part of the whole route. There have been considerable protests at the public inquiry. We must get the right solution as soon as possible.

Mr. Viggers

Is my hon. Friend aware that the motorway box formed by the M3, the M27 and the A3(M) is vital to the planning of all road networks in Hampshire and crucial to all who travel in the county? As substantial progress has been made by the Government, will she continue to give the M3 top priority?

Mrs. Chalker

After the M25, the M3 has one of the highest priorities. I fully accept the difficulties in completing those sections of motorways in the South. We shall take remedial steps in the meantime to improve the Hockley crossroads and so on, but we cannot proceed faster than we are permitted to do by the public inquiry and the difficulties ensuing from that final section of road that I mentioned to the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Mitchell).

Forward to