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£250 Million M25 Junction 10 Improvement Project Gets Approval to Start

Published on: 13 May, 2022
Updated on: 14 May, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

The controversial £250 million project to increase traffic capacity and improve safety at the A3 junction with the M25 was finally given the go-ahead yesterday (May 12) by Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, after being delayed three times since the original expected decision date in January 2021.

Aerial view of the M25 Junction 10.

Work is now planned to start this autumn with a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Atkins having already won the contract to build the scheme.

The decision for the works at M25 Junction 10 was slated by residents and local groups with the RHS at Wisley calling the decision “disappointing” and Ockham Parish Council saying it was “extremely regrettable”.

The preferred option at the consultation in 2017.

Chair of Ockham Parish Council, Dr Malcolm Aish, accused the Secretary of State of ignoring the facts on air quality, which he claimed would be made worse through Ripley “which will suffer a large increase in traffic as will Ockham and the Horsleys” and on access to the RHS Wisley site which “cannot be the best way for 1.5 million visitors a year to enjoy the gardens”.

“And for what benefit?” he said. “We are told that it will reduce the time taken from the M25 onto the A3 by two minutes!”

Emily Inge, speaking for residents of Elm Corner near Ockham junction, said: “Road building has a huge carbon footprint and the impact of this development on our fragile ecosystems is unconscionable. Local people and protected wildlife face years of disruption, noise, vibrations and poor air quality during construction.

“The money would be better spent on public transport, a network of charging points for electric vehicles, insulating homes and helping people with the cost of living. We will be paying attention to ensure that the promises made to mitigate this work, both for nature and for the people living nearby, will be kept.”

The scheme includes free-flowing slip lanes to the M25 from the A3 and increasing capacity on the existing roundabout over the M25. The A3 will be widened to four lanes in each direction between the Ockham Park junction and the Painshill junction except where the A3 crosses over junction 10.

Cllr Colin Cross

Surrey County and borough councillor, Colin Cross (R4GV) called it a recipe for congestion and pollution. He said: “There is a blatant lack of concern for both the health and wellbeing of local inhabitants and a specific disregard for the commercial and existential wellbeing of RHS Wisley, one of Guildford Borough’s biggest employers and an international attraction.”

A spokesperson for Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said they had “engaged constructively from the outset of this process, including producing a deliverable alternative scheme to ensure safer journeys, to protect the local environment and irreplaceable woodland and wildlife, and to safeguard the future of RHS Garden Wisley.

“We will now fully consider the detail of the decision.”

Tony Edwards, Wisley Action Group spokesman.

Tony Edwards from the Wisley Action Group (WAG) which has campaigned against the 1,700 home development on Wisley Airfield which depends on the junction improvements going ahead, said: “From any perspective, this decision is, at best, illogical. Many might conclude that it is also utterly indefensible”.

But National Highways who manage the nations motorways and A roads called the project “a vital upgrade which will improve journeys for hundreds of thousands of drivers using one of the busiest junctions on the M25”.

They said the junction, used by 300,000 drivers a day, was “one of the busiest in the country and experiences large queues and heavy congestion on a daily basis. It also has one of the highest recorded collision rates across England’s motorway and major A roads nationally; this project will reduce collisions by around a third”.

The scheme will involve some of the most extensive environmental work ever carried out by National Highways, restoring over 22 hectares of heathland as well as planting new woodland. The UK’s first ever ‘heathland’ green bridge will link walkers and cyclists to these important habitats for the first time.

National Highways regional delivery director Chris Welby-Everard said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement which means we can now proceed with our project to improve the M25 junction 10/A3 interchange near Wisley.”

Joss Bigmore, leader of GBC, said: “The improvements to Junction 10 of the M25 will make an enormous difference to regular users of the A3 and M25. It is an ambitious project to improve the traffic flow to and from the A25 and the A3.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey, developer of Wisley Airfield, said: “We are aware of the recent announcement regarding the M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange improvements and will provide the community and key stakeholders with an update on our planning application in due course.”

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Responses to £250 Million M25 Junction 10 Improvement Project Gets Approval to Start

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 13, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Over 47,500 new bodies to transport around the area (our “hmA” – number of houses times the average 2.4 occupants). The design and concept are “pants” but something has to be done and squabbling over trees, road alignment etc will end with the Winchester “Twyford Down” scenario. 30 years of argument ending in the destruction of Tywford Down, because no one could agree a suitable alternative design and route.

    So like the Local Plan, not really acceptable but no one is prepared to listen.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    May 13, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    Road improvements to reduce congestion and pollution should be welcome. However, improvements to existing roads and junctions require very careful consideration of the inevitable disruption and delays to traffic as well as the safety of those working on the construction site.

    This particular option is only partially free-flowing for on-slip roads from the A3 and off-slip roads from the M25 but the rest is a mixed flow on the elongated roundabout.

    Highways England, now reincarnated National Highways, did explore a full free-flowing option using high-level viaducts but rejected it as environmentally too disruptive and expensive. A similar option using two short tunnels under the A3 and two M25 underpasses was not explored. This would have looked something like this as shown schematically (actual alignments would be smoother curves) in the sketch, –

    This is a safer and cheaper option that I believe would save a substantial sum of the order of £50 million or more. Also, it has the advantage of being mostly off-line causing least disruption to traffic during construction.

    With future increases in traffic, it may need traffic lights on the elongated roundabout like the current one for safer movements. It may well be too late to consider anything else but is it right to disregard a possible saving of £50 million or more when the country can ill afford to fund less than optimal schemes?

  3. Peter Mills Reply

    May 16, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    £250 million so I don’t queue on the A3 and get to the queue on the M25 quicker. Money well spent.

  4. Colin Cross Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    I don’t think that the costing is accurate and takes into account inflation; it stood at this figure two years ago, before they dreamed up the massively expensive A3/Wisley flyover and construction.

    Think £350 to £400 million.

    Colin Cross is the R4GV borough councillor for Lovelace and county councillor for The Horsleys.

  5. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    I wonder if the SoS, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, would consider raising with National Highways the issues raised in the above comments.

    Maybe the National Audit Office would consider an examination on the appropriateness and the cost of the chosen option.

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