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.
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.”