§ Mr. John Browne
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has had negotiations with the main contractor on the Compton to Bassett section of the M3 to widen all bridges and gantries to enable his Department to construct a fourth lane at some time in the future; and if he will make a statement as to his policy for a fourth dual lane on the M3 at Winchester.
§ Mr. Atkins
The section of the Compton to Bassett section of the M3 motorway north of Leigh road, Eastleigh, is being constructed with dual three-lane carriageways. However, as a prudent measure my Department has negotiated with the contractor a small modification in the design of one bridge to allow for any possible future widening that may be required.
As my hon. Friend is aware, proposals for the remaining section of the proposed M3 motorway round Winchester were considered at the 1985 public inquiry and the re-opened inquiry in 1987–88. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport are considering the reports of the independent inspectors who conducted the inquiries and they will announce their joint decisions as soon as possible. I am sure my hon. Friend will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further until that decision is announced.