More time allowed to have your say on A303 Stonehenge tunnel

Highways England A303 Stonehenge Tunnel February 2018 3 (Highways England)

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 5:44am 23rd March 2018.

Two lots of snow, and then the Salisbury 'spy poisoning' means the deadline has been extended for public comments on plans to improve the busy A303.

An extra two weeks is being allowed for you to look at and comment on controversial plans to re-route the A303 at Stonehenge.

Highways England have extended the original deadline of 6 April 2018.

It's after two of the public events to display the plans, one in Mere and the other in Salisbury, had to be abandoned at short notice because of heavy snow.

In a letter to Spire FM News the Project Director, Derek Parody said:

"Recent severe winter weather conditions meant we had to cancel planned public consultation events in Mere on 1 March 2018, and Salisbury on Saturday 3 March 2018. We have now rearranged these..."

"...we have also extended the consultation period to Monday 23 April 2018."

The two events that were snowed off are now rescheduled on:-

  • Fri 13 Apr - Mere Lecture Hall (BA12 6HE) 2.00pm - 8.00pm
  • Sat 14 Apr - Salisbury St Paul's Church (SP2 7QW) 11.00am - 5.00pm

NEW DEADLINE - 23rd APRIL 2018:

The entire A303 scheme stretches approximately 8 miles (nearly 13Km) from Amesbury to Berwick Down and includes:-

  • A bypass to the North of Winterbourne Stoke with a viaduct over the Till Valley
  • A new junction between the A303 and A360 to the west of and outside the Stonehenge Avebury and associated World Heritage Site, replacing the existing Longbarrow roundabout
  • A 3Km tunnel past Stonehenge
  • A new junction between the A303 and A345 at the site of the existing Countess roundabout

The first glimpses of what the eventual A303 tunnel might look like were released at the beginning of February. 

Highways England A303 Stonehenge Tunnel Plans February 2018

Highways England put together a video 'visualisation' as part of the road's £1.6 billion upgrade.

As well as the tunnel itself, and flyover at the Countess roundabout at Amesbury, there will be 'green bridges' at four points. They would be grassed over bridges creating new public rights of way to access the World Heritage Site more easily.

The scheme's being suggested as a way of removing cars from the landscape at Stonehenge, and reducing traffic congestion in that area, which is a real hot-spot in the summer particularly.

WATCH THE VIDEO:

Here's what the tunnel would be like for drivers and how the landscape could look with the road out of sight:

Derek Parody from Highways England has told Spire FM why they've created that video:

"The main reason for having the visualisation is that people begin to actually feel it's real and actually understand the detail behind what is normally a two-dimensional plan. What this does is it brings to life the reality of the project, so actually getting (the public) to see what the scheme will feel and look like is really important."

WINTERBOURNE STOKE:

It had already been announced that the A303 plans would involve the road being moved away from the village and taken north.

A new viaduct is being planned to cross the River Till, which needs to be protected as it's a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.

Here's how that could look:

AMESBURY & COUNTESS ROUNDABOUT:

One of the biggest aspects of the scheme would include a flyover for the Countess roundabout in Amesbury that would take A303 traffic over the top of the existing junction.

The current roundabout and roads leading up to it would remain the same, and become the slip roads to use the roundabout towards Amesbury or Durrington.

Here's how the flyover could look if you're at the roundabout from the north, towards Amesbury town centre:

THE CONCERNS RAISED:

There have been some parts of the plan that are cause for concern among some groups.

The whole scheme has come in for criticism from groups that wanted the tunnel to be longer to avoid disrupting land around the World Heritage Site that could be considered vital archaeological ground.

English Heritage, which looks after Stonehenge itself, along with Historic England and the National Trust, have given their reaction.

They've said they welcome the plans in the main but have some worries about things like the width and location of the 'green bridges' to create new public rights of way and they'd like reassurance on the use of a new byway that's due to be created as part of the scheme.

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