Fringe Box



Letter: British Engineering at Its Best

Published on: 17 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 5 Nov, 2023

From Sir Paul Beresford

MP for Mole Valley

The work on the A3/M25 junction rebuild is well underway. Last weekend the A3 was closed for 10 huge concrete bridge beams to be installed for a new safer entry to the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley. The bridge is costly but will remove an accident-prone junction of the RHS Wisley entrance with the A3.

There were lengthy and deep discussions with RHS Wisley before the new route was settled. It required a new bridge to give safe entry and exit to the renowned gardens.

The upright supports were built first with precision to fine tolerances. The 10 horizontal connection beams were constructed in Ireland and shipped to Liverpool and then transported by 10 specialist road transport vehicles to the A3 site to be ready for installation. A huge specialist crane was assembled, first on the northbound A3 carriageway and then on the southbound.

One of the concrete beams being lowered into place – precisely

I was amongst the few allowed to sneak onto the pedestrian bridge to observe. It was a real treat to watch an amazing feat of engineering.

I arrived just as the assembly of the crane on the southbound lanes. The first beam was lowered with extreme care, first foot by foot, then inch by inch into place.

The delicacy of the placement was emphasised by the location guides at each end of the beam guiding the 75-ton beams with their fingertips. British engineering at its best.

There were moans about the A3 closure on social media, to my office and to National Highways but interestingly, there were also positive comments from people who recognised that the junction must be improved to reduce accidents and save lives.

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Responses to Letter: British Engineering at Its Best

  1. William Lawrence Reply

    October 17, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    A collosal waste of money. Thousands of trees cut down. We need to cut down on individual transport. This money should have been used for sustainable public transport not for this vanity project.

  2. Toby Evans Reply

    November 1, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    William has nailed it. What an utterly disgraceful farce the whole project is. Actually British planning at its very worst.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    November 1, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    What benefit will the public get from this £350m+ spend?

    National Highways has stated that it will save about 3 or 5 minutes off the average journey time through Junction 10?

    It has also stated that this benefit will be dissipated as the traffic flows catch up with the increase in “capacity” within 10 years.
    Was this small benefit really worth the colossal spend?

    Would the money have achieved more in Bradford?

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 2, 2023 at 5:18 am

    Looking at the devastation of trees and wildlife, surely this is an example of technology at its worst.

    This at a time we are supposed to be planting trees to combat climate change.

  5. Paul Robinson Reply

    November 3, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    If this was British engineering at its best the main bridge structure would have been built on the mainland instead of being shipped from Ireland, but our home grown manufacturing infrastructure has been lost. I would put money on most of the equipment used (cranes and other vehicles) are either German or Korean.

    50 years ago there were 11,000 people employed at the Vickers Armstrong/BAC site at Brooklands and, ironically, Wisley. That was British Engineering at its best.

  6. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 3, 2023 at 11:34 pm

    Highways England, as it was when the scheme was designed, failed to explore the option where traffic leaving the M25 could have been kept separate from the A3 traffic joining the M25.

    They explored 21 options but not the one described above. The existing roundabout could have been kept and therefore new alignments joining the elongated roundabout would not have been required. These are the ones that are causing large-scale devastation and felling of the trees. Furthermore, the M25 off-slips would have been mostly off-line and their construction requiring vastly reduced traffic management.

    National Highways inherited the scheme and commented that the option suggested by me was too late to consider as all the consultation and statutory work had been completed. They gave no satisfactory answer as to why this option was not explored by their designers. The sketch showing the alternative option can be found in

    It is of course too late for any changes to the current scheme but National Highways could do well to bear this in mind if a similar junction improvement work is being considered elsewhere in the network.

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