Major plans to transform the A303 as part of a £2 billion investment in the south-west, which will see the construction of a tunnel at the historic Stonehenge site, have today (12 January 2017) been unveiled by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
The upgrade will develop the A303 corridor into a high quality, high performing route linking the M3 in the south-east and the M5 in the south-west, improving journeys for millions of people.
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said:
This government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future, underlined by our record £15 billion funding for road schemes.
This major investment in the south-west will transform the A303 and benefit those locally by cutting congestion and improving journey times. It will also boost the economy, linking people with jobs and businesses with customers - driving forward our agenda to build a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few.
Drivers, hauliers, residents and other road users are being invited to have their say on the proposal to upgrade a seven-mile single carriageway stretch of the A303 near Stonehenge in Wiltshire into a dual carriageway.
The single carriageway section of the A303 currently runs alongside the stones and the proposed option is to construct a 1.8 mile dual carriageway tunnel to improve journey times, remove the sight and sound of traffic and enhance the world heritage site.
The 2014 Road investment strategy committed to upgrading all remaining sections of the A303 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageway standard, starting with 3 schemes:
- at Stonehenge
- between Sparkford and Ilchester
- between Taunton and Southfields
Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said:
We are delivering the biggest investment programme in our roads in a generation.
Our plans for the A303 recognise the national importance of the route and these improvements will bring real benefit to the region and local communities.
The public exhibitions will provide an excellent opportunity to explain further our plans and to hear feedback from stakeholders on our proposals to deliver the scheme.
The Stonehenge consultation launches on 12 January and will offer the public the chance to view the proposals and meet the project team. Public consultation for the latter 2 projects will follow in due course.
The Stonehenge scheme proposals also include a bypass for the village of Winterbourne Stoke and improvements to existing junctions between the A303 and the intersecting A345 and A360 north-south roads.
The consultation runs between 12 January and 5 March. Following the consultation the preferred route will be announced later in 2017 and is subject to the completion of statutory procedures for development consent.
Public exhibitions will be staged at the following locations:
- The Manor Barn, Manor House, Winterbourne Stoke on Saturday, 14 January (11am-5pm)
- Antrobus House, Amesbury, on Wednesday, 18 January (2pm-8pm)
- Shrewton Village Hall, The Hollow, Shrewton, on Friday, 20 January (5pm-9pm)
- Avon Valley College, Recreation Road, Durrington, on Saturday 21 January (11am-5pm)
- Larkhill Primary School, Wilson Road, Larkhill, Tuesday, 24 January (5pm-9pm)
- The Manor Barn, Manor House, Winterbourne Stoke on Friday, 27 January (2pm-8pm)
- Salisbury Guildhall, The Market Place, Salisbury, on Saturday 28 January (11am-5pm)
- Grove Hall, Church Street, Mere, near Warminster, on Saturday 4 February (11am-5pm)
- Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, on Monday 6 February (2pm-8pm)
- Antrobus House, Amesbury, Wednesday, 8 February (2pm-8pm)
Following the consultation, the preferred route will be announced later in 2017.