Press release

Record road investment plans in the South West are set to achieve key milestones

Plans for the tunnel set to be built as part of the £1.6 billion upgrade of the A303 near Stonehenge will go on public display today (February 8).

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Highways England’s plans for the improved A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down will be on show at a series of public events starting on Friday.

The consultation, which runs until 6 April, will outline for the first time initial designs for the scheme and how it will restore the tranquil environment and setting of the Stonehenge monument and surrounding landscape by removing the sight and sound of the road.

Since the last consultation in September, Highways England has continued to work with heritage groups such as the National Trust, Historic England and English Heritage, as well as 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.

The route has been carefully chosen to avoid monuments and barrow groups as well as avoiding any intrusion on views of the winter solstice from Stonehenge and reconnect the World Heritage Site, which is currently split by the A303.

Highways England is now seeking feedback from the public to help shape the scheme further before they submit an application for a Development Consent Order.

This upgrade is one of five multi-million pound road schemes aimed at boosting the economy, tourism and heritage in the South West which will reach key milestones in the first six months of 2018.

Other key milestones include consultations on the:

  • A358 Taunton to Southfields dualling scheme.
  • A303 Sparkford to Ilchester.
  • A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross.
  • A417 Missing Link scheme.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said:

These upgrades in the South West will improve millions of journeys. Each of these milestones in the region is evidence of Highways England delivering major infrastructure upgrades for the whole country.

The upgrades are funded by the Government’s £15 billion investment in motorways and main A roads, and being delivered by Highways England.

April will mark three years since Highways England embarked on delivering the Government’s Road Investment Strategy, the biggest investment in the country’s major roads since the 1970s.

Across the country almost 40 schemes are reaching key milestones in the first half of this year and will join the 18 major projects that have already opened to traffic since April 2015. In addition, a further 16 are currently in construction, the latest of which to start initial works was a major upgrade to the M49 near Bristol.

Statutory consultation for the A303 Stonehenge scheme will offer the public and all interested parties the chance to see the progressed plans, including visualisations of how the new route might look, including the Winterbourne Stoke bypass and initial designs for the junctions along the route.

Following public consultation in early 2017 and further engagement with local communities, heritage groups, archaeologists, historians and engineers, the preferred route was chosen so that the route now closely follows the existing A303 through the World Heritage Site.

For more information on the consultation and public information events, visit the scheme website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 8 February 2018