Stonehenge tunnel: Wiltshire Council backs scheme

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Philip Whitehead said he hoped the scheme would be a solution to "horrendous" traffic

Senior councillors have supported the transport secretary's decision to approve a £1.7bn project that would see a road tunnel built near Stonehenge.

Wiltshire Council's leader Philip Whitehead said it was "very happy" with the plan for a new eight-mile (12.8km), two-lane carriageway on the A303.

Work on the project is set to start in 2023 and take five years to complete.

Mr Shapps' decided to proceed with it in November despite the objections of planning officials.

But Mr Whitehead said he saw it as a solution to "horrendous" traffic in villages on and around the A303.

Wiltshire Council's cabinet officially gave its support for the plan at a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Image source, Highways England
Image caption,
Work on the tunnel is expected to begin in 2023 and take five years to complete

Other work will include a bypass to the north of Winterbourne Stoke with a viaduct over the River Till valley.

A junction with the A360 to the west of- and outside the Stonehenge World Heritage Site - will also be built. The A303 would pass underneath that junction.

The current road passing through the World Heritage Site would become a walking, cycling and horse riding route, Highways England said.

The National Trust, English Heritage and Historic England are all in favour of the plan.

But the Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) group said it worries that the two-mile (3.2km) tunnel would be "wasteful and destructive" and on the wider area.

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