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Route revealed for new Stonehenge tunnel

Date: 12 September 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

The Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England have revealed the proposed route for a controversial tunnel underneath ancient heritage site Stonehenge.

The new road, set to cost £1.6 billion, will link the M3 and M5 motorways in the south-east and south-west respectively, with the government departments claiming the 'expressway' will improve journey times and provide economic growth for millions of people.

According to the UK Government, the tunnel "will remove the traffic blight on local communities" and enhance the landmark, while also reconnecting the two halves of the site, which is currently split by the A303.

The proposed route includes eight miles of free-flowing dual carriageway, a tunnel at least 1.8 miles long underneath Stonehenge and a new bypass to the north of Winterbourne Stoke.

"This government is taking the big decisions for Britain's future and this major investment in the south-west will provide a huge boost for the region," said transport secretary Chris Grayling. "Quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air will benefit people locally and unlock growth in the tourism industry."

He added: "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."

"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," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England. "The A303 and the World Heritage site have suffered from congestion for many years. This scheme will enhance, protect and restore tranquillity to one of the UK's most iconic landscapes."

He added: "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."