Stonehenge tunnel plans modified as costs increase

 

Highways England has modified its plans for a road tunnel under Stonehenge as part of its £1.6bn A303 upgrade, however it still faces staunch criticism over the scheme and its mounting costs. 

The position of one of the entrances to the tunnel has been moved an extra 50 metres away from the prehistoric monument to avoid 'important archaeological sites and avoiding intrusion on the view of the setting sun from Stonehenge during the winter solstice'.

”Local

The modified route plans: image from DfT
 

Cost estimates for the scheme have also been changed, increasing by some £200m since the summer to reach £1.6bn.

The route change comes after a consultation period that saw druids, archaeologists, conservation experts and even the UN call for a rethink.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'Quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air will benefit people locally and unlock growth in the tourism industry. The scheme will also support 120,000 extra jobs and 100,000 new homes across the region.'

The preferred route includes:

  • 8 miles of dual carriageway
  • a twin-bore tunnel at least 1.8 miles long underneath the World Heritage site, closely following the existing A303 route, but a further 50 metres away from the monument 
  • a new bypass to the north of the village of Winterbourne Stoke
  • junctions with the A345 and A360 either side of the World Heritage site

Highways England said that before the consultation there was no clear preferred bypass option for Winterbourne Stoke but the responses 'have helped us decide that the northern route is the preferred option'.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: 'The A303 and the World Heritage site has suffered from congestion for many years. This scheme will enhance, protect and restore tranquillity to one of the UK’s most iconic landscapes.

'We have listened to feedback from consultation and believe this preferred route will help improve traffic flow, reduce rat-running on the surrounding roads, bringing improvements to local communities and benefits to the south-west economy.'

Linking the M3 in the south-east and the M5 in the south-west, the ‘expressway’ scheme is designed to reconnect the two halves of the 6,500 acre World Heritage site, which is currently split by the road, and remove the sight and sound of traffic from the Stonehenge landscape.

The planned road goes underground before a feature called the Avenue, which is believed to be a ceremonial approach to Stonehenge from the river Avon. This means visitors should, for the first time in decades, be able to follow the route their forebears took.

Campaigners are still adamant the plans have major problems.

The Stonehenge Alliance - supported by Ancient Sacred Landscape Network, Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Friends of the Earth and RESCUE: The British Archaeological Trust - said the project would 'cause severe and permanent damage to the archaeological landscape'.

On behalf of the alliance, Kate Fielden of CPRE and RESCUE said: 'We are shocked at Highways England’s indifference to UNESCO’s advice. The project needs a complete re-think, not a minor tweak which still threatens major harm to this iconic landscape. The potential risk of loss of Stonehenge’s World Heritage Status casts shame upon our country and those responsible for caring for our heritage.'

In a statement the alliance said: 'The proposed tunnel would leave some 2.5km of four-lane expressway, substantially in cuttings, well within the WHS with very serious implications for the Mesolithic site of Blick Mead, as well as a number of sites of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages for which the WHS designation was given.'

The Government is committed to upgrading all remaining sections of the A303 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageway standard, starting with three schemes: one at Stonehenge, one between Sparkford and Ilchester and the third on the A358 between Taunton and Southfields.

Highways England told Transport Network that the cost has not increased.

'The range in the consultation documents has always been between £1.4bn and £1.8bn. £1.6bn is the mid-range,' a spokesman said.

However the scheme had always previously been advertised as £1.4bn as opposed to £1.6bn.

For further details click here

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Transport & Infrastructure Planning Officer

Essex County Council
£52000 - £57570.0 per annum
Please note this is a two year fixed term contract with a potential for extension, subject to budget and workload. Job purpose Calling all transport P England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Food Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Food Safety team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £36,486 depending on skills and experience
We have an exciting opportunity within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for 2 x Policy Planner roles... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£19,554 - £23,836
Looking for candidates who have experience of highways maintenance and have a sound technical understanding of highways. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Street Services Recruitment Day

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Competitive Salary
This role involves collecting residents and business wheelie bins and waste containers you will work as... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.  Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Pollution Environment Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Environmental Health team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Traffic Officer

Bedford Borough Council
£23,313 - £26,999 per annum
You will work as part of the Highways team providing specialist knowledge and advice on traffic management issues. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Vehicle Technician x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
Seeking to recruit two Vehicle Technicians, based at our Waterfall Lane Depot in Cradley Heath. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Design Engineer - Guildford

Surrey County Council
£39,438 - £43,744 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within Surrey County Council's Highway Design & Delivery Team... Guildford, Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Environment and Low Carbon Work Package Manager

Essex County Council
£38400 - £42420 per annum
Please note that this position is to be offered on a 3-year, fixed term contract.Interviews likely to be held week commencing 30th September 2019.Esse England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director of External Operations

Somerset West and Taunton Council
£100,000
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been through a transformation that puts customers at the heart of everything we do. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset West and Taunton Council

Surface Water Engineer (Maternity Cover)

Essex County Council
£30300 - £35000 per annum + plus benefits
Essex is committed to enabling inclusive economic growth, helping people get the best start and age well, helping create great places to grow up, live England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Zero Emissions Network Officer

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£33,759 - £34,986
We are looking for an enthusiastic Zero Emissions Network Officer Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Head of Highways & Transport

Lewisham London Borough Council
up to £72,705
As our lead expert on highways and transport, you will set the direction and lead on all transport related matters Lewisham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lewisham London Borough Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council