The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the new plans to ease congestion on the A303 near Stonehenge.
Plans for the development were released yesterday by the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, for the £1.6 billion scheme that will include a tunnel comprising 1.8 miles in length which will alleviate the traffic congestion near such a significant World Heritage site.
Before finalising the plans for the project, a consultation was held for local people and businesses to air their views. This attracted what the Department for Transport (DfT) described as “considerable feedback from thousands of individuals and organisations.”
This, alongside engagement with various other groups such as local communities and heritage groups, resulted in Highways England modifying their plans.
Therefore, the tunnel positioning has shifted.
And Deborah Waddell, CBI South West Director, said the new plans will be music to the ears of businesses who will benefit from greater connectivity to the region.
She said: “Congestion on the A303 has blighted local firms and held back growth for the South West for far too long. We have long called for action, so this announcement will be warmly welcomed by businesses across the region and beyond.
“Business wants to see a renewed focus on delivering growth and productivity for the whole of the UK and better linking our towns, cities and regions with each other, will play a key role in this.
“The economic and environmental case for this route has long been made, and after extensive and through consultation, we have a plan that balances the need for improved connectivity and resilience with protecting this site of key international importance.”
The new preferred route will also provide eight miles of dual carriageway, the tunnel underneath Stonehenge, situated 50 metres away to avoid intrusion, and there will be a new bypass.
Upgrading the A303 is part of the government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy that is the largest spend on the road network in a generation.