MAJOR road works to reduce traffic on one of Hampshire’s busiest roads have been postponed by a month.
A multi-million pound makeover to junction three and junction five of the M27, taking eight months to complete, is due to begin this summer.
But the Highways Agency has put the start dates back as designs are yet to be finalised.
The £8m project at junction five at Eastleigh is now planned for July rather than June this year while the £2.3m project to improve junction three linking the M271 will start in August rather than July.
Completion of both projects was originally planned for the end of March 2015 leaving drivers facing months of delays.
The plans are expected to improve access to Southampton and help keep roads flowing when the planned development of 47,000 sq m of business space, a new supermarket distribution centre, a care home and 49 homes near the M271 has been completed.
Workers will widen the M27 eastbound slip road, Stoneham Way, Wide Lane to three lanes. Sections of the roundabout will also be widened and extra traffic lights will be put in, while an additional lane for drivers turning left from Wide Lane on to the eastbound M27 carriageway will be created.
Meanwhile, at junction three there will be a third lane on the slip road off the westbound carriageway of the M27 and both the northbound and southbound approaches to the motorway from the M271, as well as putting in additional traffic lights.
Workers will also replace the hard shoulder on the eastern side of the junction three roundabout with a third lane to ease traffic heading from Romsey or the eastbound carriageway of the M27 towards Southampton.
Southampton City Council roads chief Cllr Jacqui Rayment, said: “As long as the work goes ahead and they complete before the winter sets in, I don’t think a month will add too much difficulty.
“Disruption at any time is not good but this work is positive for the city.”
Diversions will be put in place while the junctions are closed overnight and some lanes on both the M27 and M271 will be closed during the day.
The work is part of the Government’s motorway £300m “pinch point” programme which aims to remove bottlenecks on the nation’s roads.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The improvements to the pinch points at junctions three and five of the M27 will increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve safety helping to provide a boost to the Solent economy.
“We are currently finalising the design of the schemes with partners and our contractors and work on both schemes is due to start in the summer. Further details will be announced in due course.
“Whenever we plan improvements we always look to minimise disruption as much as possible and especially so when there are two schemes relatively close to each other on the same motorway.
“Because of this, we’ll work overnight when traffic flows are lowest and co-ordinate diversion routes with minimal lane closures in place during the day when we need more time to make the improvements.”