The Department for Transport (DfT) have this morning published the route for the upgrade of the A303 near Stonehenge.
Costing £1.6 billion, the scheme at Stonehenge will not just alleviate traffic, but will also help to hit other crucial government aims such as supporting thousands of jobs and even more new homes in the area.
Part of the government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy, the upgrade of the A303 also includes a tunnel almost two miles long, a dual carriageway and a bypass north of Winterbourne Stoke.
The plans were announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. The project is a huge part of the ‘South West expressway’ that will link the M3 in the south east and M5 in the south west.
The tunnel will help to ease the traffic that has troubled local communities in the past. Its location near Stonehenge also means the landmark will be enhanced, as two halves of the site will be reconnected by the tunnel.
The noise made by traffic will also be removed.
Mr Grayling spoke about how the project will boost the area and spoke of the wider benefits.
“This government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future and th is major investment in the south west will provide a huge boost for the region.
“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, helping us build a country that works for everyone.”
Today’s route is also a triumph of public consultation because earlier this year, it attracted lots of feedback. This resulted in the location of the tunnel being moved 50 metres away from the route initially proposed, meaning traffic will be taken away from the World Heritage site.
Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Highways England, believes the improvements will enhance the scheme following the public consultation.
“Highways England is committed to delivering a high quality, modern road on this vital route between the south west and the rest of the country.
“The A303 and the World Heritage site has suffered from congestion for many years. This scheme will enhance, protect and restore tranquility 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.”