A303 Stonehenge

Closed 5 Mar 2017

Opened 12 Jan 2017

Feedback Updated 12 Sep 2017

We Asked

We asked for feedback on proposals to upgrade the A303 past Stonehenge – an 8 mile (13 kilometre) stretch from Amesbury in the east, through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) and the village of Winterbourne Stoke, to Berwick Down in the west.

The scheme needs to:

  • support regional economic growth by improving connectivity to London and the South East
  • meet future transport needs by creating a high quality reliable route
  • enhance Stonehenge by restoring its setting in the prehistoric landscape
  • improve the environment and local quality of life by reducing rat-running and other impacts

Our proposals were for a 1.8 mile (2.9 kilometre) tunnel with approach roads inside the WHS, a new bypass for Winterbourne Stoke (passing either north or south of the village) and improvements to existing junctions with the A345 and A360. 

You Said

More than 9,000 people and organisations responded to the consultation.

People generally agreed that something should be done to address the problems on the A303, but there were different opinions about what.

As well as giving views on specific elements of the project, people also offered alternative ideas and provided feedback on themes such as cultural heritage and the environment, as well as engineering, construction, planning, cost and the consultation process itself.

The views expressed and matters raised are summarised in our preferred route booklet, which you can find below in the documents section

We Did

We read and considered every response and comment you gave us and, together with the results of further surveys and assessments, used this information to review and improve our initial proposals. 

The most significant change was a re-think on the route through the western half of the WHS and the location of the western tunnel portal, which are now much closer to the line of the existing A303. This avoids many important archaeological sites, including newly-discovered important archaeology just to the east of the A360. The modified alignment also avoids any risk of the road intruding on the view of the setting sun from Stonehenge during the winter solstice, perhaps the most important sightline in the entire WHS.

Before consultation there was no clear preferred bypass option for Winterbourne Stoke. You have helped us decide that the northern route is the preferred option.

To learn more about the preferred route, please see the documents below. For more information on the development of the project, its role as part of an Expressway to the South West, and to subscribe to our web alerts, please visit the A303 Stonehenge webpage.

 

 

Results Updated 13 Sep 2017

Our first (non-statutory) public consultation on proposed options took place from 12 January to 5 March 2017.

Following our thorough analysis of all the responses to the consultation on proposed options, as well as undertaking further surveys and assessments, the Secretary of State for Transport announced the preferred route for the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down with the following features:

 •  A new junction between the A303 and A345 accommodating free-flowing traffic movements between both roads

•  A twin-bore tunnel, at least 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometres) long, past Stonehenge

•  A new junction to the west of and outside the World Heritage Site (WHS) accommodating free-flowing A303 and A360 traffic movements, as well as a link to Winterbourne Stoke

•  A bypass to the north of Winterbourne Stoke

Our preferred route for a free-flowing dual carriageway between Amesbury and Berwick Down will make journeys quicker and safer, while helping put an end to the harm caused by rat-running in nearby communities. As part of an Expressway to the South West, the scheme will boost economic productivity, creating opportunity and prosperity for local people. It will also deliver once-in-a-generation improvements to the setting of Stonehenge itself, as well as reconnecting the two halves of the WHS and restoring tranquility to one of the UK’s heritage icons. 

Just as importantly, we are confident this route is both deliverable and good value for the tax payer – issues which have made the project stumble in the past.

More details of the preferred route including how we have read and considered every response, can be found provided in the documents below.

Files:

Links:

Overview

Background

The A303 is the most direct main route between the South East and the South West. Tens of thousands of people use the road every day, including tourists on their way to some of the nation’s favourite holiday destinations.

But for now the road is not great at getting people from A to B. It is regularly congested and is frustrating for motorists who try to avoid tailbacks by diverting onto unsuitable local roads. This makes life hard for local communities too.

The aim is to transform the route into an Expressway, a new type of strategic road which is as safe and reliable as a motorway and where ‘mile-a-minute’ journeys are the norm.

In its Road Investment Strategy, the Government has identified eight separate sections of road along the A303 and A358 to Taunton where upgrades are needed, and has made funding available for the first three to get under way. These are:

  • A358 Southfields to Taunton
  • A303 Sparkford to Ilchester
  • A303 Stonehenge, between Amesbury and Berwick Down running through the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site, past Stonehenge, and through the village of Winterbourne Stoke

What we are proposing

Between Amesbury and Berwick Down, we need a free-flowing dual carriageway to replace the current single carriageway section which runs past Stonehenge and through the village of Winterbourne Stoke.

Our proposed solution is to build a 1.8 mile (2.9 kilometre) tunnel under the World Heritage Site (WHS), a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke and improve the existing junctions between the A303 and the intersecting A345 and A360. 

As well as easing congestion, improving life for local communities and reducing the risk of accidents, we believe our proposals will improve the setting of Stonehenge and other important monuments within the WHS.

As we develop our proposals, we need to address some complex and difficult issues which have been stumbling blocks in the past. The good news is that previous attempts to build a road tunnel at Stonehenge have given us lots of information from which we can give ourselves the best possible chance of success this time around.

Scheme objectives

There are many potential benefits to finding a better route for an upgraded A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down.

Transport: A dual carriageway with high standards of safety would improve journey times and safety, especially in summer. The new South West Expressway’s up to date technology would help manage traffic and provide information to drivers. Providing a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke and relieving Shrewton, Larkhill, Bulford and Durrington of rat-running traffic would improve safety for local residents, cyclists and pedestrians.

Economic growth: Roads are the backbone of the UK economy. Improving journey times would help make the South West more competitive with the rest of the country. Shorter journey times cut transport costs, and give businesses better access to markets, suppliers and skills. In turn this would help make the region more productive and boost tourism. It would also give the South West’s growing population better access to more jobs and schools. Better connections will support the development of more homes.

Environment and community: The scheme will enhance biodiversity within the WHS and reduce the impact of congestion, noise and emissions on local communities. It will improve the quality of everyday life in local communities.

Cultural heritage: The World Heritage Site is cut in two by the A303 at the moment and is spoiled by the sounds and sights of traffic. Placing the A303 in a tunnel would enhance the WHS. As well as making Stonehenge easier to get to, the scheme would reconnect the stone circle with nearby ancient monuments and help people explore the wider WHS.

As the scheme progresses, we will take opportunities to make enhancements to the environment whereever we can.

Documents

The case for improving the A303

Public consultation information

Factsheets

Public consultation promotion

Technical documents

Maps

Videos

 

 

Audiences

  • All members of the public

Interests

  • Roads