National Highways presses on with A303 works

09/04/2024
Chris Ames

National Highways has started preliminary work on its £2bn A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme.

The government-owned company has temporarily closed a section of the A360, which intersects with the A303 just west of Stonehenge, to install an electricity supply for construction work and for the tunnel itself.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is installing high voltage and fibre optic cabling along this route. Work is being carried out in one lane of the road, with equipment in the other lane.

National Highways said that to allow the work to be done as safely and as quickly as possible, a section of the A360 to the south of Longbarrow roundabout will be closed until July.

In February, National Highways defeated a High Court challenge from the Stonehenge Alliance over the transport secretary's decision to grant the development consent order for the scheme.

The Stonehenge Alliance has said it will appeal and has condemned National Highways’ decision to start work on the scheme while it is being challenged in the courts.

Chair John Adams said: ‘This work by National Highways ahead of any decision by the courts is premature and risks wasting even more public money in a hugely controversial scheme. 

‘If the courts find something wrong with the decision making then National Highways will have wasted millions of pounds of public money for no reason.’

Separately, National Highways has announced a full weekend closure of the A303 at another of its major schemes on the key route to and from the South West – the £250m Sparkford to Ilchester scheme (pictured).

The government-owned company said it needs to move traffic onto the newly built westbound carriageway to allow space to build the new eastbound carriageway.

It said that ‘weather permitting', the changes will happen under a full weekend closure of the road between Sparkford and Ilchester, from Friday evening on 19 April to Monday morning 22 April.

Senior project manager Siân Hopkins, said: ‘We appreciate the A303 is a well-used road, and we are keeping disruption to an absolute minimum.’

As reported by Highways last autumn, the finish date for the scheme has now slipped from March 2024 to 2024-25, and is likely to be next winter.

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