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Government gives green light to A303 Stonehenge improvement


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has given the formal green light by granting a Development Consent Order for work to start on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme.  

Development consent has been given to construct a new section of dual carriageway to address problems associated with the single carriageway section of the A303 between Amesbury’s Countess roundabout and the dual carriageway section to the west of Winterbourne Stoke.  

The application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration by Highways England on 19 October 2018 and accepted for examination on 16 November 2018. Following an examination during which the public, statutory consultees and interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State on 2 January 2020.  

The announcement is a significant step towards unlocking economic growth and improving journey times and reliability between the M3 and M5.  

The GBP1.7 billion A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade includes:  

  • Eight miles of free-flowing, high-quality dual carriageway 
  • A tunnel at least two miles long underneath the World Heritage Site, closely following the existing A303 route, but a further 50 metres away from the Stonehenge monument, avoiding important archaeological sites, and avoiding intrusion on the view of the setting sun from the stones during the winter solstice 
  • A new bypass to the north of the village of Winterbourne Stoke 
  • Junctions with the A345 and A360 either side of the World Heritage Site  

In the meantime, Highways England has been progressing the procurement process for the main works contract for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, and is participating in dialogue with three bidders before they submit their final tenders. The preferred bidder is expected to be announced in 2021.  

The company, responsible for the country’s major A roads and motorways, has also recently awarded contracts for archaeological mitigation work (Wessex Archaeology Ltd) and preliminary works (Osborne Ltd) ahead of main construction.  

Fieldwork is due to start in late spring next year, with the main five-year construction phase expected to start by 2023.  

Click here and uk/34 for the tunnelbuilder archive. Also visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/ and https://www.gov.uk/government/. 48/20.