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

Lead Engineer [Development]

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£40,760 - £41,675 per annum
Looking for an exciting new opportunity? Join us in Knowsley’s Major Development Team! Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Principal Engineer [Development]

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£34,788 - £35,934 per annum
Looking for an exciting new opportunity? Join us in Knowsley’s Major Development Team! Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Director of Neighbourhoods

Havering London Borough Council
c.£138,000
As Director of Neighbourhoods, you will provide strategic leadership for a full range of regulatory and non-regulatory services Romford, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Havering London Borough Council

Director of Economic Development & Planning

Wiltshire Council
£99,856 - £110,084 per annum
In this role you will have a key role in growing the local economy Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Executive Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£24,660 - £31,764
A new opportunity has arisen for an Executive Officer to join The Environment and Community Services Directorate Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Director, Governance and Improvement

City of York Council
£87,623 to £97,149
We are looking for an exceptional individual to be appointed to the position of Director of Governance and Improvement. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Chief Fire Officer

West Sussex County Council
Competitive Salary plus Financial Support for Recruitment and Retention
We are looking for an exceptional individual who can lead our Fire & Rescue Service Chichester, West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

Inspector / Senior Inspector

City of Bradford MDC
£21,166 - £31,371 pa
This is an opportunity to join the Highway Maintenance team who have responsibility for maintenance of around 2,000km of adopted road network. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Traffic Management Operative/Foreman

Balfour Beatty
Competitive
Are you a Traffic Management Operative/Foreman with Highspeed (12AB) Qualifications, looking for a new and exciting opportunity? If so read on..... Leatherhead, Surrey
Recuriter: Balfour Beatty

Senior Team Leader

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 to £38,994 per annum inclusive
Looking for individuals with initiative, evidence of experience in managing a street cleansing service and motivating... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Road Safety Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,589 - £31,371
We are looking for a candidate who can participate in developing and delivering technically sound highway engineering solutions. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Information Management Officer x 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £26,317
Looking for better and smarter ways to operate and you will play a key role working across a broad range of service... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Graduate Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
This is an exciting new opportunity in the Highway Services team to play a pivotal role in creating a safe and... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata.
Looking for someone that is friendly, has great communication skills and enjoys working with children. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Design)

Darlington Borough Council
£31,371 - £33,799
Looking to employ an experienced person within the Highway Design team to meet the challenge of enabling development... Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council

Project Manager – Major Maintenance and Infrastructure Projects 

Liverpool City Council
£42,683 - £47,491 
The successful candidate will ensure that effective procurement and delivery of highways maintenance and improvement. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Green Space Development Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Green Space Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for the people of Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Principal Planning Officer - Fixed Term

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39.774 - £42.684
Looking for key members of the team that will be instrumental in transforming the Borough and opportunities available for residents.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planner

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27228 - £36711
In this role you will deal primarily with small-scale planning applications covering a wide range of planning issues. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich