It seems to be SW highways announcement week! Hot on the heels of the North Devon Link Road announcement, the £1.7bn project to tunnel the A303 alongside Stonehenge has also been given the green light, two years after the planning application was submitted.
As with everything on this project, the announcement by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is not without controversy as it overruled the Inspector’s recommendation last January to withhold consent.
The proposals continue to incite strong and divided opinions from environmentalists, archaeologists, local residents, regional businesses and druids. There is still quite a process to go through, and objectors are rallying protests and an appeal.
Assuming it finally progresses, the new tunnel will run between Berwick Down and Amesbury, the section of the A303 that is renowned for traffic jams and pollution issues caused by rubber-necking.
Having travelled that road numerous times to meet clients in the South East, we welcome the improvements this will make to the travel experience. With our role on Visit Devon, we also welcome the improvements it will make to visitor access to the South West, and (eventually) the restored tranquillity of the World Heritage Site setting.
Preparatory work is currently scheduled to commence in spring of 2021, with construction expected to run from 2023-28.
(Photo: Sky News)