New route for the Stonehenge road tunnel unveiled as costs rise

12/09/2017
Highways Reporters

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.


For further details click here

Highways jobs

Technical Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£21.591 - £25.809
Using your administrative and communication skills to the full, you’ll provide invaluable support across our busy Directorate.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: 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)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Contract Monitoring Officer (Streets and Grounds)

Wiltshire Council
£24,313 - £26,317 per annum
This is an interesting and varied role involving inspecting and monitoring the condition of the highway Wiltshire
Recruiter: Wiltshire Council

Green Space Partnership Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£30,066 - £34,538
You will have excellent written and presentation skills including experience of preparation of reports, briefings, minutes of meetings and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Sustainability Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
Looking for two Sustainability Officers to work across the Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy team to create, manage and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Projects Manager

Brent Council
£45,585 - £48,482 p.a. inc.
As Parking Projects Manager, you will be responsible for leading the delivery, to time and budget, of key parking projects... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Parking Operations Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Are you a hard-working individual, who enjoys working outdoors in all weather conditions? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Team Leader (Local Plan)

City of Bradford MDC
£40,760 - £43,662 pa
The post requires a degree and eligible to be a corporate member of Royal Town Planning Institute and NVQ Level 5 in Management or... Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Team Leader (Infrastructure & Local Plan Implementation)

City of Bradford MDC
£42,683 pa - £45,591 pa
The Post provides an exciting opportunity to manage a multidisciplinary team of professionals leading on Transport planning and Local Plan Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 - £42,490
Seeking Environmental Health Officers to contribute towards delivering the project objectives of addressing rogue landlords and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Neighbourhood Highway Engineer

Devon County Council
£36,876 to £40,760 per annum
Seeking an experienced highway engineer with extensive knowledge of highway maintenance and traffic management to... Devon
Recruiter: Devon County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
SCP 13-17 - £11.41 - £12.35
Exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Highways, Transport & Engineering, Road Safety & Sustainable Transport Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Project Assistant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in undertaking complex Air Quality Improvement Projects... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Road Safety Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team.The Royal Borough of Greenwich is commit England, London, Woolwich
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Principal Development Co-ordinator

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 plus 12% supplement*
Looking for those who will quickly understand the Gloucestershire context and can display their expertise and... Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Team Leaders

Gloucestershire County Council
£43,662.00 - £45,591.00 plus 12% supplement*
Looking for those who will quickly understand the Gloucestershire context and can display their expertise and solid professional experience in... Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Highways Project Manager  

Gloucestershire County Council
£43,662.00 - £45,591.00 plus 12% supplement*
Looking for those who will quickly understand the Gloucestershire context and can display their expertise and... Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

HDM - Team Manager

Gloucestershire County Council
£49,472.00 - £52,327.00 plus 12% supplement*
Looking for those who will quickly understand the Gloucestershire context and can display their expertise and... Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County 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
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Inspector (Street Works)

Bedford Borough Council
£27,905 - £30,507 per annum
You will inspect the highways at agreed frequencies in order to maintain the highway in a safe and usable condition. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recruiter: Bedford Borough Council

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Highways England at Westminster
  • Traffex Scotland and Bridges Scotland guide
  • Highways Awards winners
View the latest issue

Latest Video