Junction 8 work: start date pushed back to April 2021

(Photo: reigate.uk)

Work to improve the M25 junction at the top of Reigate Hill is now scheduled to begin in April 2021.

An updated Highways England project webpage says construction work won’t start until then “to minimise disruption and better coordinate with our nearby work to upgrade the M23 to a smart motorway”.

The work is due to last until July 2022.  The project page says: “Whilst every effort will be made to limit the disruption caused by the works, some disruption is expected.  In order to complete the works, a series of 24/7 lane closures and road closures will be required to protect the travelling public and our workforce.”

The work will include occasional overnight closures of the junction, with diversion routes, and at some point a five-week closure of access from Gatton Bottom/Back Lane to the southbound A217.

The aim of the project is to reduce congestion at the junction, which was built in 1986.  The plans include upgraded signals and layout changes on the roundabout, as well as the creation of two lanes down Reigate Hill as far as Wray Lane with a slip road heading off towards Merstham.

Having more lanes down the hill even for a short distance is intended to allow more Reigate-bound traffic to wait there, rather than on the roundabout itself, which snarls up other exits.

Questions have been raised over the years, by local councillors, about how things will play out given the level crossing at the foot of Reigate Hill.   On this issue, the project webpage says: “Highways England acknowledges the amount of traffic that can build up on the southbound A217, partly as a result of the level crossing.

“The benefits of this scheme include creating additional capacity on the southbound A217 by introducing a new lane, which will result in a safer place for motorists to stop in the event of congestion reaching the M25 Junction 8 roundabout.

“However, the scope of this scheme does not extend to addressing the traffic resulting from the operation of the level crossing on the A217.”

On the scheme benefits as a whole, Highways England says: “It is expected that a total of almost 53,000 hours of journey time savings will be made in the first year after opening.

“The proposals are also expected to improve the reliability of the junction, making journey times more predictable. By reducing queuing on the M25, there are expected to be fewer accidents with resulting delays.”

Key details of the project are:

  • “upgrading the traffic signal installation throughout the junction”
  • “adding an extra lane on the A217 northbound approach”
  • “widening into the existing verge and extending the anti-clockwise exit slip road”
  • “adding an extra lane on the north circulatory section of the roundabout”
  • “widening lanes on the east and west bridge section of the roundabout”
  • “improving road signs and markings”
  • “widening and realignment on the A217 southbound to two lanes that merge prior to Wray Lane”

The existing yellow boxes will be removed, on the basis that the improved signals will make them unnecessary and because they would interfere with new lane markings.

Existing pedestrian facilities will not change, but there will be no dedicated cycling facilities.  The project page says consideration was given to improving things for cyclists but “the provision of dedicated cycling facilities would require widening the bridge over the M25 and the purchase of adjacent land. The cost and time required to do this are outside of the available budget and funding window for this scheme.”

Highways England says on the page that they have worked with Surrey County Council to plan the way in which works will be carried out.  The local Surrey County Council committee that liaises with Highways England is the Reigate & Banstead Local Committee.  Chair of that committee, County Cllr Jeff Harris, has told reigate.uk that they will continue to work to ensure local residents’ views are represented.

Previous articles about the project can be found here.