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

Civil Service Deputy Director Roles

GOV.UK
£70,000 - £117,800 & excellent rewards
We’re looking for significant experience of engaging at C-Suite and Board levels, excellent partnership-building and... England
Recruiter: GOV.UK

Engineer (Highways Scheme Design)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post-holder will be required to have highway engineering expertise in order to contribute to efficient and effective provision of... Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recruiter: Medway Council

Principal Flood Risk Officer

Lancashire County Council
£42,683-£46,566
We have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Floor Risk Officer Lancashire
Recruiter: Lancashire County Council

Resources and Waste Commercial and Contracts Manager

Northumberland County Council
£47,107 - £50,394
We are looking for a strategic, innovative and performance-focused leader to join us as Resources and Waste; Commercial and Contracts Manager. County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

SEN Travel Assessment Co-ordination Officer

London Borough of Bexley
£35,529 - £41,796
We are currently seeking an experienced officer administrator who will enjoy working as team and under their own initiative, with duties including... Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Bexley

Principal Planning Liaison Officer X3

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Principal Estate Roads Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Principal Travel Plan Officer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Assistant Estate Roads Engineer x2

Somerset County Council
£25,295 to £28,785 per annum
We have 2 exciting opportunities for enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our Highways Development Management Team Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager

Bridgend County Borough Council
£38,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recruiter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Design Services Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£50,430 - £55,503
We are a team of mixed experience and skills, proud to serve the people of Lincolnshire and have fun whilst doing so! Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 to £32,029
We are looking for a Transport Planning Officer to join our Highways and Transportation service. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transforming Cities Fund - Project Delivery Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£48,000 to £55,840
We are looking to appoint to the pivotal position of TCF Project Delivery Manager on a 3 year fixed-term contract, to... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Funeral Operative (Part Time)

Brent Council
£24,462 - £26,274 (pro-rata) p.a. inc.
The person will not need previous experience in funeral services as full training will be given but experience would be an advantage. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Field Officer

Northumberland County Council
£21,589 - £23,836
Field Officer, Permanent,  37 hours per week.  Closing date 29 May 2020 at midnight  Plessey Woods Country Park
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Solicitor - Planning & Transportation Team

Birmingham City Council
£34,788 - £42,683
This is an opportunity to join a team of specialist lawyers dedicated to the Council achieving... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Application Support Analyst

Redbridge London Borough Council
£34,794.00 - £36,711.00
Looking for an experienced Application Support Analyst to join our IT & Digital Services team.  Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Engineer (Drainage)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post holder will be expected to work closely with our term maintenance contractor to successfully complete schemes. Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recruiter: Medway Council

Refuse Drivers - Rolling Advert, applications checked weekly

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Car Parks and Neighbourhoods Manager

Derbyshire Dales District Council
£36,876 - £39,782 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to lead and develop the Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Neighbourhoods team. Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire Dales District Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Crossing the inflection point

COVID-19 recovery plans revealed

Modelling a changing world

The great reallocation

View the latest issue

Latest Video