Stonehenge road tunnel gets go-ahead after 30 years
Ministers approve dual carriageway near World Heritage Site
A controversial road tunnel near Stonehenge has finally been given the green light - but with changes to the original planned route following protests by druids, archaeologists and conservationists.
The 1.8-mile dual-carriageway tunnel will largely follow the existing A303 route in Wiltshire, the Department of Transport said today.
However, following complaints that the tunnel would “pass too close to precious barrows and ruin the view of the sun setting at the winter solstice, a crucial date in the pagan calendar”, the western entrance is to be moved a further 50 metres away from the prehistoric monument, reports The Guardian.
Construction is expected to start in 2020, with a target completion date of 2029.
Proposals for a tunnel at the site were originally suggested in 1989 and have been hotly debated ever since. Critics argue it will be damaging to Stonehenge and threaten its status as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson called the plan “the most brutal intrusion into the Stone Age landscape ever”, according to the BBC.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the £1.6bn road upgrade would result in quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air for residents, while supporting 120,000 additional jobs and 100,000 new homes across the region.