The Stonehenge tunnel is set to go ahead as work on the A303 goes under consultation

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Tourists Flock To Stonehenge
Tens of thousands of vehicles currently pass Stonehenge on the A303 every day (Source: Getty)

The much-anticipated tunnel under Stonehenge is finally set to go ahead to cut congestion and preserve the world heritage site.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling today unveiled the plans to spend £2bn transforming a seven-mile stretch of the A303 in Wiltshire.

The proposed option will construct a 1.8 mile dual carriageway tunnel to enhance the ancient site and improve journey times.

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The upgrade will link the A303 to the M3 in the south east and the M5 in the south west, improving journeys for millions of people, the statement said.

Plans for the tunnel were announced in 2014 after decades of propositions.

Grayling said this government has allotted a record £15bn to funding road infrastructure. He said:

This major investment in the south west will transform the A303 and benefit those locally by cutting congestion and improving journey times.

It will also boost the economy, linking people with jobs and businesses with customers - driving forward our agenda to build a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few.

Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan has backed what he called "the biggest investment programme in our roads in a generation".

The Stonehenge tunnel is part of the 2014 road investment strategy which committed to upgrading all remaining sections of the A303 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageways. The programme will start with Stonehenge before converting the area between Sparkford and Ilchester and between Taunton and Southfileds.

Tens of thousands of vehicles pass the Stonehenge site every day, English Heritage noted in a statement supporting the tunnel in 2015.

"The heavy traffic and constant noise from the road compromises our enjoyment and understanding of the monument, and the road cuts the stones off from much of the surrounding ancient landscape and many prehistoric monuments."

The government is holding a consultation from today through 5 March to give the public a chance to view the proposals.

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