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M3 Smart Motorway, BG800 and crash cushions, Balfour Beatty

Updated: May 26, 2021

Project Breakdown

Client: Balfour Beatty

Location: M3 Smart Motorway J 2 to 4a

Live dates: Jan 2015 - March 2017

Division and product: Road Barrier Systems; BG800 temporary barrier, Tau Crash Cushions

Project background

In the November 2011 autumn statement, the Chancellor announced that the M3 Junction 2 to 4a would be upgraded to a smart motorway as one of six growth schemes which would be prepared for construction before 2015.

The main construction works were delivered by Balfour Beatty and commenced in January 2015 for 26 months.

Throughout the construction period together with the Highway’s Agency, Balfour Beatty needed to ensure the safety of the public and workforce; minimise the impact of work on the local communities, minimise delays to road users and do all possible to protect the local environment.

Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, was awarded the £129 million scheme to upgrade a 13.4 mile stretch of the M3 through Hampshire and Surrey to a Smart Motorway. The upgrade increased capacity, reduced congestion and shortened journey times for the 120,000 motorists who pass through this part of the network every day.

The M3 between Junction 2, interchange with the M25 and Junction 4a, Fleet was upgraded to a four-lane motorway by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent running lane. Electronic signs, operated by a regional control centre, were installed to manage the flow of traffic in response to driving conditions.

The Challenge

Despite Chapter 8 visibility and PPE, road workers are always at the peril of unaware and careless drivers. With many workers in close proximity to vehicles travelling at around 80 kmph; there is a constant worry for their safety.

The Solution

BG800 steel barrier system can be used for temporary or permanent locations and is approved to EN1317 N2W2.

"Highway Care Ltd installed over 39km of BG800 System for Balfour Beatty on the M3 Junction 2 – 4a Smart Motorway Scheme. The installation included 44 crash cushions and was carried out over four weeks of night shifts within lane closures. A mixture of hi-ab trailers and wheeled excavators were used to install the barrier which resulted in average outputs of 1,500m per night. BG800 was used to protect the 500 strong workforce along one of the busiest motorways in the UK. The barrier enabled Balfour Beatty to replace and repair large sections of the drainage, the installation of gantries and the reconstruction of the hard shoulder to a standard that to would allow 4 lane running from junction 2 – 4a.

Matthew Lofts, IEng MICE, Section Engineer, Major Projects Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK