National Highways has explained why the M27 was not resurfaced during its four-year-long transition into a smart motorway in 2018.

The M27 resurfacing works have caused major delays for drivers in Southampton, causing many to wonder why the motorway was not resurfaced during the previous major roads scheme to turn it into a smart motorway.

Motorists endured four years of speed restrictions on the stretch of the M27 between junctions 4 and 11 as it was turned into a smart motorway.

But less than two years later, motorists have again been frustrated by 50mph average speed checks not due to be lifted until Spring 2026.

The latest £83 million project is due to see the concrete section of road between junctions 5 and 7, which had been causing disruption to West End residents, replaced.

Some residents asked why the two projects could not have been done together.

Responding, a spokesperson from National Highways said: “During the M27 junction 4 to 11 motorway upgrade project, the concrete surface between junctions 5 and 7 was fit for purpose.

“To avoid delaying the upgrade and the introduction of new technology and additional capacity, it was decided to conduct the overlay work after the completion of the motorway upgrade project.”

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In summer of 2018, residents of Southampton, Eastleigh, Whiteley and Fareham were told the key route would be subject to a 50 mile per hour speed restriction until March 2021.

National Highways explained the reason for the £244 million smart motorway transformation was to "tackle congestion and improve journey times".

However, during the works, there were heavy delays for drivers traveling up and down the motorway.

The works along the 15-mile stretch did eventually come to a conclusion in February 2022 and the final speed limit restriction was lifted in June of the same year.

After being subject to four years of delays, drivers in Southampton became more frustrated when, in 2023, the Prime Minister announced that all future smart motorway schemes would be halted after safety concerns and financial constraints.

Drivers were then allowed two years of uninterrupted motorway driving until February, when yet more road works got underway.

It was revealed by National Highways that the stretch between junctions 5 and 7 would be subject to more works and overlaid with 180mm of low noise surface asphalt.