MULTI-million pound improvements to Winchester’s worst bottleneck will move a step closer with briefings on the proposals.

Highways England wants to carry out a major upgrade to the M3 junction 9 at Winnall where the M3 joins the A34 and A272 and has developed a scheme estimated to cost around £100m.

It aims to improve traffic flow, journey times and safety, as well as boost local economic growth and minimise environmental impact.

The scheme was delayed by highways bosses to avoid a clash with other schemes.

It was originally due to start in March 2020 but was pushed back to mid-2021.

The exact details of what is proposed have yet to be revealed by Highways England.

The progress is welcomed by Mark Baulch, at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, who said delays at the bottleneck have an economic effect.

Mr Baulch, head of policy and representation, said: “The junction of the M3 and A34 is of massive strategic importance and delays here have an economic impact across not only Winchester and the district, but across a whole sub-region of the UK and even worldwide.

“A vehicle being delayed here can affect exports in one direction, and vital ‘just-in-time’ components for assembly lines in the other.

“The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and its members look forward to the opportunity to discuss this with Highways England in the early part of the New Year.”

The business briefing on January 25 takes place at the Mercure Hotel, Paternoster Row in Winchester from 8am to 11am.

The public events are on January 27 at Winchester Guildhall from 10.30am to 4.30pm, and on January 31 from 2pm to 8pm, February 10 at Winnall Community Centre from 10.30am to 4.30pm, February 16 at Kings Worthy Community Centre from 2pm to 8pm and again the next day from 10.30pm to 4.30pm.