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Stonehenge - a sensible solution.

February 10, 2016 4:18 PM

Stonehenge by Vera CarbinCouncillor Ian West has submitted an alternative plan to the Stonehenge tunnel.

Here's what he's written to Highways England:

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"I am the local councillor for the villages just to the west of Stonehenge including Winterbourne Stoke and Shrewton which are particularly affected by the lack of a dual carriageway past Stonehenge.

I would wish to propose an alternative scheme to the proposed tunnel scheme being recommended by the government for serious consideration. It is one of the alternative routes that was proposed at the previous public enquiry and involves a surface laid dual carriageway of the A303 from the end of Amesbury bypass to Long Barrow roundabout along the line of, or just to the south of, the existing A303 road.

The dual carriageway could be built into a beautifully landscaped cutting thereby putting the road out of sight of Stonehenge. The road would continue in a cutting under byway 12 such that the byway would cross above the A303 along the same line as at present. If built sensitively, high-sided vehicles would not be seen and traffic not heard by visitors to the stones.

Where the A303 meets the present Long Barrow roundabout there would be an intersection such that the A360 would be in an underpass below the dualled A303. From here the dualled A303 would run north of the existing A303 to follow the line that seemed to be accepted at the last Public Inquiry, to complete a northern bypass of Winterbourne Stoke and then rejoin the existing dual carriageway at Berwick Down.

Over the last 23 years or so that I have represented this area on the council, this scheme has been suggested by many residents to me and I believe it has a good deal of local support and merit. The benefits would be:

- It would be by far the cheapest option, a fraction of the cost of a tunnel.

- It would be completed in the shortest time frame thereby reducing congestion soonest.

- It would retain the open landscape desired by English Heritage with no road insight from Stonehenge.

- The maintenance of the road would be a fraction of the cost of maintaining a tunnel.

- In the event of an accident traffic could still flow, unlike in a tunnel.

- It would involve the least damage to the countryside and minimise pollution.

- It could include the ability for vehicles to leave the A303 for a designated car park, itself out of site of Stonehenge, and for people to see Stonehenge from a viewing area, thus honouring Cecil Chubb's wish when he gave the stones to the nation.

As an aside, it is also interesting to note that when Dresden needed to build a bypass round the city more that half of the population were content to lose their UNESCO status in order to have the cheaper and more pragmatic solution of a bridge rather than a tunnel to relieve the congestion in the city. Perhaps the Stonehenge problem is similar in many ways to that of Dresden. The local people have lived with the A303 problem long enough."