FINAL decision on A303 Stonehenge tunnel within weeks

FINAL decision on A303 Stonehenge tunnel within weeks

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 10:05am 3rd January 2020. (Updated at 10:30am 3rd January 2020)

3 minute read

The Planning Inspectorate has now made its recommendation to the Transport Secretary, following a six month inquiry.

The controversial idea for a 2 mile long tunnel for the busy A303 has been under scrutiny for many years - but there could be some light at the end of the tunnel (excuse the pun!).

A huge public hearing to look into the plans took place between April and October last year.

Stonehenge A303 before (Highways England)
The A303 at Stonehenge has been a traffic hotspot for many years

That was assessing everything from the impact on traffic, to environmental and archaeological concerns.

There have been more than 1,400 documents submitted as part of the plans, and around 2,500 representations from local organisations and people.

A303 Stonehenge Project Map
Highways England has released this map of where the work could take place

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? 

The Planning Inspectorate has now revealed (Thursday 2nd January 2020) that they've finished their examination and given a recommendation to the Secretary of State to make a decision.

What we don't know is what that recommendation is - and it won't be disclosed until the final decision's been made.

There's a target deadline for that outcome of 2nd April 2020.

Highways England A303 Stonehenge Tunnel February 2018 2 (Highways England)
The plans for the A303 would include a flyover at Countess roundabout

WHAT'S PLANNED? 

The A303 tunnel project, put forward by Highways England, would see 'improvements' to the road between the Countess Roundabout at Amesbury and the Berwick Down area.

The plans include (in order if travelling westbound): 

  • A flyover for the Countess roundabout
  • A 2 mile (3.3 kilometre) tunnel at Stonehenge, widening the road to a dual carriageway and shielding the road from view at the stone circle
  • Green bridges over the A303 to give better public access to the land around the World Heritage Site
  • Longbarrow roundabout moved slightly, with traffic lights put in place
  • A bypass for Winterbourne Stoke, putting the road on a viaduct over the Till Valley
Stonehenge A303 Woodford Valley after (Highways England)
The road could be taken north of Winterbourne Stoke to avoid going through the centre of the village

Work has been carried out on Highways England's behalf already to survey the drainage and sewerage in the area.

There have been some geotechnical surveys locally too:

The plans have faced some fierce opposition though, including from the Stonehenge Alliance.

They went along to the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge to show their feelings:

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Spire FM

© Copyright 2020 Spire FM, A UKRD group company