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Tunnel under Stonehenge part of £2bn South-west roads programme

A tunnel under Stonehenge has been included in a £2bn programme of work to improve roads in the South-west of England.

The 2.9 km tunnel under the historic site is one of the core projects unveiled by Highways England yesterday as part of its six-year pipeline of work to upgrade and increase capacity on the region’s roads.  

Plans also include major improvements to the M5 near Bridgwater, which will serve as a crucial route during the proposed construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, set to begin in 2017.

Other projects will include the dualling of several A-roads, the building of a new junction at Avonmouth and an investment of £90m for resurfacing works.

The work was outlined by the government-owned company at a suppliers’ event in Yeovil yesterday.

It forms part of Highways England’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy.

South-west works to start by 2021:

  • A new junction on the M49 at Avonmouth
  • Improvements to the M5 J23 at Bridgwater
  • An upgrade to an 14 km section of single carriageway on the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross roundabouts
  • Development of a scheme on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down route that passes Stonehenge, including building a tunnel
  • Dualling the A303 between Sparkford and IIchester
  • Dualling the A358 from the M5 at Taunton to A303 at Southfields
  • Investigations into the benefits of connecting the two dual carriageway sections of the A417 near Birdlip, Gloucestershire

The five-year plan will triple spending on the network and will feature 112 major road improvement projects.

Last month, Highways England unveiled plans for £3.8bn-worth of new road projects across the Midlands and the East of England.

Roads minister Andrew Jones said: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are making the biggest investment in roads in a generation.

“The £2bn investment in the South-west of England will significantly improve journeys and help create jobs.

“We’re upgrading key roads like the A303 and A30 and building a new junction on the M49 near Bristol.

“This will create a new strategic corridor to the South-west and complete the dual carriageway into Cornwall so that hardworking families can have better access to jobs, shops and leisure facilities.”

Highways England regional director Andrew Page-Dove said: “Our road network connects, people, places and business and this new investment will bring huge improvements to journeys around the South-west.”

“The government has committed record funding to specific projects to ensure our roads continue to play a key role in supporting connections in and out of the South West.”

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