The maligned M25, made infamous by the song “Road To Hell’, is in the news again, specifically around Junction 10, between Wisley and Cobham in Surrey. Traffic congestion has been a problem at this junction because of London commuter traffic, plus a load of vehicles using the A3 interchange and routes to the South coast. The gridlock created is recognised by the M25 operator, Highways England, as a top priority for a project to ease congestion. The site does have the highest rate of a vehicle collision in England after all.
A preliminary study completed by Highways England has presented two options for consideration by concerned groups and the public. The first option is a flyover system requiring 8 hectares, its’ aim to completely separate the different traffic streams. Option two, requiring 17 hectares, is to increase the number of lanes and extent of the current roundabout interchange, hence giving the traffic streams more room. The consideration period will last several months until one option is chosen towards the end of 2017. In-depth, planning would then proceed with construction taking place from 2020 until the new system is opened in 2022.
Highways England acknowledged the environmental sensitivity of the area in terms of flora, fauna and wildlife. A spokesperson stressed the consultations made with the landowners, Surrey County Council, and the Surrey Wildlife Trust who manage the land on the council’s behalf. Their efforts have been aimed at minimising the areas of private land which will be required and maximising the areas of undisturbed land, by grouping together small patches of access or common land. The 2 designs being considered both utilise land made available with that approach.
Also involved have been the Royal Horticultural Society who have one of their 4 properties in Wisley, almost adjacent to the junction. This famous exhibition garden, along with the academic and research centre, will not be directly impacted by the project. Traffic flow in and around the facility will be changed, however. The RHS spokesperson had no comment as yet.