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  1. ITV Report

Stonehenge tunnel given go-ahead by Government

Traffic passing Stonehenge on the A303. Credit: PA

A two-mile tunnel near Stonehenge has been given the go-ahead by the Department for Transport.

The tunnel is part of a £1.6 billion A303 upgrade.

The DfT says the changes will support economic growth and tourism in the area.

£1.6bn
cost of the A303 upgrade near Stonehenge

In 2015 the DfT released a video showing what the area would look like without traffic.

It says a tunnel near Stonehenge will remove the "blight" of cars and other vehicles which currently drive close by to the landmark.

The DfT says removing the road will make the sight more pleasant for visitors. Credit: ITV West Country

The Dft says the project will reconnect the two halves of the 6,500 acre World Heritage site which is currently split by the road.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says as well as aesthetic changes there will also be major economic benefits from the project.

“This government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future and this major investment in the South West will provide a huge boost for the region.

“Quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air will benefit people locally and unlock growth in the tourism industry.”

“The scheme will also support 120,000 extra jobs and 100,000 new homes across the region, helping us build a country that works for everyone.”

– Chris Grayling
Chris Grayling says the project will bring quicker journey times and less congestion. Credit: ITV West Country

A public consultation was held earlier this year.

The DfT says the route ensures the Stonehenge World Heritage site will be protected and enhanced for people from across the world to enjoy.

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture says it's important to preserve a national landmark.

Stonehenge has captured the imagination of people around the world for centuries and is a site of global importance. With over 1 million visitors a year it is one of the jewels in the UK's crown and it is important that we preserve it for generations to come.

This investment from the government will help make the visitor experience much more enjoyable and this is good news for local residents and businesses who will benefit from the new route.

– Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture
The Department for Transport has held public consultations on the plans. Credit: Department for Transport

Roads Minister Jesse Norman says as well as economic benefits it is important to consider the environmental positives of the project.

The A303, which is running 200 metres away from Stonehenge, will be turned into a green route and then people will be able to use the site as it was properly intended to be used. The environmental and ecological and heritage and frankly the economic benefits of that will be huge.

– Jesse Norman, Roads Minister

The Stonehenge road upgrade is part of the Government's 'South West expressway' project.

Linking the M3 in the South East and the M5 in the South West, the Department for Transport says the Expressway will improve journey times for millions of people.

The Government says it is committed to upgrading all remaining sections of the A303 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageway standard.