UK approves £1.7bn A303 Stonehenge road tunnel project


UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has granted development consent for £1.7bn A303 Stonehenge road tunnel project.

The project will include the construction of an eight-mile dual carriageway, which will ease congestion on the A303 road between Amesbury and Berwick Down.

It will feature a tunnel, which measures at least two miles in length, below the World Heritage Site. The tunnel mostly follows the existing A303 route but will be 50m away from the Stonehenge monument to avoid main archaeological sites.

The project will include a new bypass to the north of the village of Winterbourne Stoke and junctions with the A345 and A360 either side of the World Heritage Site.

Highways England, which is responsible for Britain’s major A roads and motorways, is now moving forward with the procurement process for the main works contract for the A303 Stonehenge project.

The preferred bidder for the project is anticipated to be announced in 2021.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The A303 Stonehenge tunnel project is part of the biggest investment in our road network for a generation and we welcome the Secretary of State’s decision.

“This transformational scheme will return the Stonehenge landscape towards its original setting and will improve journey times for everyone who travels to and from the south-west.”

The latest announcement to approve the road project follows a detailed planning hearing in 2019. The UK government said that there is now a six-week period in which the decisions may be challenged in the High Court.

Recently, Highways England awarded a £35m contract to Wessex Archaeology to carry out archaeological protection and excavation work ahead of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade past Stonehenge. The agency also awarded a preliminary works contract to Osborne.

Fieldwork is scheduled to commence in late spring next year, with the main five-year construction period anticipated to begin by 2023.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps approves A303 Stonehenge road tunnel project. (Credit: Crown copyright)

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