Taking on feedback from a consultation earlier this year Highways England has adjusted some of the design detail of the planned £1.6 billion scheme which will improve journeys on the busy route and create a much-needed bypass for Winterbourne Stoke while preserving the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.
The changes, which seek to further enhance the famous landscape and reconnect the two halves of the 6,500-acre World Heritage site (WHS), include:
- removing the previously proposed link between Byways 11 and 12 in the Stonehenge WHS to avoid affecting the setting of the Normanton Down barrow group and tranquillity of the site in this area
- widening the green bridge proposed near the existing Longbarrow roundabout to improve the physical and visual connection between the northern and southern parts of the WHS
- moving the proposed modification of Rollestone crossroads to provide a more compact layout
Derek Parody, Highways England Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said:
We had a great response to our earlier consultation and have acted on the feedback. We now want to get people’s views on our proposed changes to our original consultation.
The further feedback we get will allow us to make sure we have got the best scheme before we make our application later this year to build the scheme.
Meanwhile we continue to work with heritage groups including Historic England, English Heritage, the National Trust, and experts in the field, including the Stonehenge Scientific Committee - a body of leading independent archaeologists - to ensure a new route is built sensitively to the World Heritage site.
Highways England received more than 5,000 responses to consultation on improving the A303 route past Stonehenge, between Amesbury and Berwick Down, which includes a tunnel at least 1.8 miles long, a free-flowing dual carriageway and a much-needed bypass north of Winterbourne Stoke.
As part of its £15 billion road strategy – the biggest investment in roads in a generation – the Government is committed to upgrading all remaining single carriageway sections of the A303/A358 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageway standard.
The A303 at Stonehenge, the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester, and the A358 between the M5 Taunton and the Southfields Roundabout on the A303 are the first three schemes in that strategy.
The A303 Stonehenge upgrade will deliver major benefits to the World Heritage Site by reuniting the landscape and restoring tranquillity to the setting of one of our most famous cultural icons. At the heart of many of Highways England’s proposed refinements to the scheme is the protection of the WHS and its Outstanding Universal Value.
The scheme will also support a major boost to the South West economy, currently lagging 24% behind the national economy, by providing an effective transport link, and reducing the traffic blight on local communities.
Further details of the proposed changes will be available during the supplementary consultation and in the meantime, anyone wanting further information on the scheme or anyone who wants to respond to the consultation can visit the scheme web page.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.