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M23 mayhem on the horizon as upgrades set to begin

West Sussex County Council say: “Residents are being advised to allow extra time when travelling in the area and to check for travel updates before they set off on journeys.”

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Works on a two-year upgrade turning a large portion of the M23 into a ‘Smart Motorway’ has had the green light and will begin next week, on Monday (18 June).

When finished, the project will see the motorway expand from three to four lanes. This is said to help ease congestion, provide safer journeys and allow for the introduction of advanced technology to improve traffic flow.

More news: Former pilot arrested at Gatwick is jailed for being four times over alcohol limit

The £164m upgrade will be carried out across 11 miles (18km) of road between junction 8 at Merstham and junction 10 at Copthorne. During the two-year project the motorway will be subject to narrow lanes with reduced speeds, and will require occasional lane closures and full overnight closures at various times during the construction period. Alternative routes and diversions will be introduced to help ease traffic flow.

But many local residents and regular users of this section of the M23 are not welcoming the disruption and mayhem the construction may bring.

One resident on social media said:

“Two years of roadworks for an eternity of four lanes of people in the wrong lane. Great…”

While another said:

“Smart motorway, just a cheaper and dangerous alternative to introduce a 4th lane. The hard shoulder was there for a reason and that was safety”

West Sussex County Council said:

“The project has been carefully planned to try to minimise the impact for drivers as much as possible.

“However, due to the amount of construction that needs to be carried out, drivers should expect some disruption with minimal delays.

“West Sussex County Council is working closely with Highways England to ensure residents are aware of the work being carried out, and know where to go to find out the latest information.

“Residents are being advised to allow extra time when travelling in the area and to check for travel updates before they set off on journeys.”

Highways England is responsible for the project and has appointed Kier to carry out the construction work, which is due for completion in March 2020.

Highways England said:

“The works will commence at Junction 8 and move south towards Junction 10. We will be initially working in the verge between Junctions 8 and 9. Once the verge works are complete, we will change the arrangement of narrow lanes and commence working in the central reserve. For Junction 9 to 10, we will be starting in the central reserve first and then completing the works on the verge.

“Diversion routes will be clearly signed during full carriageway closures.”

The government agency have said that as a result safety, congestion and journey times are all key issues that need to be improved on the M23. This stretch of the M23 is heavily used by traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport and between Brighton and London, especially during UK holiday periods.

As junction 9 of the M23 is the main access for traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport, Highways England said this scheme is ‘of particular local and national economic and political importance’.

They also said they have ‘considered the full range of environmental topics’:

“…there will be no long term significant effects. Temporary effects during construction will be slight changes in views, construction noise, disruption to road users and some loss of habitat.”

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Crime

Crawley teen girl one of four arrested during police drugs operation

A man and three teenagers were arrested during a drugs operation at The Level in Brighton over two days.

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A 15-year-old Hove boy and a 16-year-old girl from Crawley were arrested by police officers on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cannabis and burglary with intent to steal and a 16-year-old girl from Brighton, was detained on suspicion of burglary with intent to steal on Thursday (16 August). They were questioned and released under investigation.

On Friday (17 August) a 23-year-old Brighton man was arrested after he ran from police officers through the children’s play area at The Level. He was detained on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis after a large quantity of the drug worth several hundreds of pounds was seized (pictured) along with cash and other drugs paraphernalia. He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin. He has also been released under investigation.

Chief Inspector Rachel Swinney said:

“Our prevention officers, who play a crucial role in helping tackle local issues, have been targeting suspected drug dealers at The Level using high visibility patrols, covert patrols and our passive drugs dog. We are also trying to identify drug users to direct them to agencies who can support them.

“If anyone suspects drug dealing is going on or has any information about it please contact us.”

You can report suspicious behaviour or drug dealing at our website or ring 101.
For advice and information about drugs see the Sussex Police drug advice page.

* Prevention teams play a crucial role in helping tackle local issues and where possible prevent them happening in the first place. The recent council tax increase will be used to strengthen these local teams.

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