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

Assistant Definitive Map Officer - Public Rights of Way

£25,481 - £27,041
Are you passionate and knowledgeable about Public Rights of Way (PROW)? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Electrical Services Manager 63663 CESE

£42,720 to £46,635 per annum
An opportunity has arisen for an Electrical Services Manager within the Highway Services Team to help manage... Norwich, Norfolk
Recruiter: Norfolk County Council

Highways Major Projects Manager – Highways and Transportation

up to £57,376
As the Major Projects Manager, you will be responsible for managing and monitoring the the delivery of major capital schemes and for all aspects of... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Waste Projects Assistant

£26,025 - £31,536 depending on skills
Are you keen to help reduce waste and improve recycling services for residents and businesses? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Highways Engineer (Road Safety)

£45,859 - £50, 654
We are looking for an enthusiastic Senior Road Safety Engineer to manage the process of reducing road traffic collisions and casualties through the Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Adoptions Inspector

£27,614 to £30,602 per annum
City of York Council's busy highway adoptions team is looking to recruit an adoptions inspector to assess and inspect the standard of works York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Specialist Refuse Loader

£19,312 - £19,698
Specialist Refuse Loader Stakeford, Choppington
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Assistant Director Environment

£95,438
We are looking for a strategic and resilient leader to become our next Assistant Director of Environment here in Doncaster. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Doncaster Council

Project Engineer – Scarborough or Whitby Area Office

£24,982 to £35,745
We have an exciting Project Engineer opportunity in our Scarborough or Whitby Highways Operational office. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Ice Rink Manager

£29,724 - £32,757
We are looking for a friendly and approachable person to join our management team, who can... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Environment Improvement Officer

£24,982 - £27,041 per annum
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Director - Capital Projects, Building Services, Highways and Transport

£77,862 to £93,434 per annum
You will lead a diverse range of services and will be responsible for the delivery of an ambitious and varied Capital Programme of... Darlington, Durham
Recruiter: Darlington Borough Council

Senior Assistant Engineer (Network Management)

£32,234 to £34,728
There are 2 roles available and each role will be pivotal to the Council in delivering statutory duties which fall... Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Team Leader (Network Development)

£37,890 to £40,876
Wirral is home to vibrant, energetic and engaged communities, people who... Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Clerk of Works [JE1119]

£30,451 – £34,728
We are looking for a Clerk of Works to join our expanding team, supporting the Senior Engineers to deliver on... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

CPP Engineer

£19,698 to £35,745
We have developed a career progression pathway with four stages with a well-defined framework for... Cheshire
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Senior HSEQ Advisor

£35,745
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join North Yorkshire County Council's Shared Health and Safety Service to... North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Information and Monitoring Officer

£26,025 - £38,616 per annum depending on skills
Would you like a role in shaping the planning policies of Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Officer - Parking

£35,745 - £40,876 per annum
As a Senior Parking Officer (Parking Enforcement) you will be responsible for managing parking contracts relating to the issue of... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

£39,880 - £42,821 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity for someone with excellent experience in Traffic Management and Engineering, or related discipline, to... Pembroke, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)
Recruiter: Pembrokeshire County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

 

Highways England takes on tunnels

Also inside:

  • Legal analysis: What the Brexit trade agreement means for you
  • Maintenance: The heavy-duty kit making light work
View the latest issue

Latest Video