Transport User Voice – May 2018 – A303 Stonehenge tunnel consultation

26 April 2018

It’s not surprising that Highways England’s proposals to put the main A303 route as it passes Stonehenge into a tunnel have attracted so much interest.

Many expert and interest groups have expressed an opinion, over the many years of debate, about what needs to be done at this uniquely sensitive part of the Strategic Road Network. Transport Focus ensures that the views of road users are heard.

Highways England has just finished consulting on the detail of the preferred route for eight miles of the A303, including approaches on either side of the two-mile tunnel.

We’re pleased that – responding to pressure from us – this consultation document touches on how the scheme would work for users of the road. Much is left unsaid however, so in the response we have just submitted to the consultation Transport Focus has highlighted:

  • the need to be clear on how much of the new road will be operated as an Expressway, effectively a motorway prohibited to slower vehicles and cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians. Classifying the whole eight miles in this way would help meet the ‘mile a minute’ journey time aspiration, but it’s essential that good provision is made for any road users displaced from the A303 itself
  • the importance of factoring into the detailed design of the tunnel lessons that are emerging from our research into user experience and expectations of road tunnels
  • the imperative of retaining, or even enhancing, the ‘sense of place’ experienced by road users passing through
  • installing open bridge parapets and avoiding retaining walls in the tunnel approaches would open up more views of this unique landscape.

Highways England faces the challenge of improving traffic flow while also protecting this national monument and its surroundings. We want to make sure that the focus is on enhancing the journey experience of all those using the road and making the most of the inspiration that Stonehenge provides.

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