About the scheme
Our transformation of the A303 at Stonehenge will sort out a road that does not work for drivers or for people who live, work and holiday in Wiltshire and the south west.
As part of the most direct route between the south east and the south west, the A303 at Stonehenge plays a big part in the daily lives of thousands of people. Because traffic flows along the single carriageway section between Amesbury and Berwick Down are twice what it was originally designed for, the route can be a daily struggle for many.
We’re committed to delivering a high quality, high performing dual carriageway along the A303/A358 corridor between the south west and south east.
Stonehenge is a special place. Iconic. World renowned. Helping to conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site is one of our key objectives. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do just that.
We take that responsibility very seriously – that’s why we’ve worked extremely closely with heritage bodies discussing design solutions right from the very beginning of the project. And we will continue to involve our stakeholders as we progress to leave a positive and lasting legacy.
Minimising our impact on the environment – and improving biodiversity where we can – is fundamental to the scheme. Over the past few years, our team of environmental experts has carried out extensive surveys and studies to understand wildlife populations and movements, assessing air quality and modelling noise levels. We’ve also engaged with a host of environmental organisations including Natural England, RSPB and the Environment Agency.
All this has helped us identify how best to maximise the benefits. The design reflects this, including features such as green bridges which will help wildlife cross the new road, landscaping and screening. The creation of an area of new chalk grassland will establish new habitats for wildflowers, bats, butterflies and birds, including the rare stone curlew.
This work is pulled together in our extensive 7000-page environmental statement, which forms part of our Development Consent Order (DCO) application. We’ve made it easier to access this information by making it digital- the UK’s first purpose-built digital environmental statement containing maps, reports and visualisations.
Ongoing site investigation
Over the coming months you might see some of our team or equipment in the area. We’ll be carrying out more surveys to find out the most up-to-date details about the ground conditions, water levels and topography. Every bit of information we gather helps garner knowledge about the area and ensures we are making decisions based on the latest evidence and material.
Over the past few years, we’ve consulted widely with local community groups. We’ve listened carefully and made changes based on feedback.
We will build on this – and continue to engage directly with local people every step of the way. Our Community Forum was set up in February 2018. People representing local villages, communities and groups come together with Highways England regularly to share information, discuss local concerns and look at delivering wider benefits. We have an independent chair – Jim Claydon – who oversees Forum meetings and ensures fairness.
Preliminary works are planned to start in 2021. Ahead of this, we will agree traffic management plans with Wiltshire Council to minimise the impact of our works on local communities and our customers. We aim to keep traffic flowing on the A303 during construction, deliveries will avoid peak times and local roads, and as far as possible construction traffic will be separated from public roads.
We began the formal procurement process in July 2019 and it’s expected to last eighteen months.
The contract notice has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The award of the contract will provide a wide range of opportunities for companies to be part of the project with the successful contractor.
Read the full contract notice full contract notice .
The A303/A358 corridor is a vital connection between the South West and the South East. While much of the road is now dual carriageway, there are still over 35 miles of single carriageway road. Improving the A303 past Stonehenge is just one of eight schemes planned along the corridor, announced by the Government in 2014. Collectively they are designed to provide a continuous high quality dual carriageway route, opening up the South West.
Here are images and visualisations of the valuable improvements we will deliver. Numbers relate to points on the map above.
Four ‘green bridges’ will cross the new dual carriageway, specially landscaped to blend in with the environment.
These will be multi-purpose, maintaining access to farmland and helping wildlife cross the new road, as well as allowing walkers, cyclists and horseriders to use footpaths and bridleways.
The new road will leave the existing A303 just to the east of Yarnbury Castle on Berwick Down, passing to the south of Parsonage Down National Nature Reserve. Some 100 hectares of new chalk grassland will create habitats for rare birds and fauna – enhancing the biodiversity of the area.
The new Winterbourne Stoke bypass will cross the River Till on a viaduct. This will be landscaped, featuring a 1.5-metre-high environmental screen on the south side – designed to screen traffic from view.
The village of Winterbourne Stoke – currently cut in half by the A303 and blighted by traffic – will have a new bypass running to the north.
The junction between the A303 and A360 will be moved 600 metres west from where the present Longbarrow roundabout sits on the boundary of the World Heritage Site. The A360 will be diverted to the new junction, controlled by traffic signals, allowing safe access to newly created public rights of way in the World Heritage Site.
Once the tunnel and new road opens, the old A303 through the World Heritage Site will be transformed into a public right of way for non-motorised use, improving accessibility to the pre-historic landscape for local communities and visitors alike.
The new road will pass into the tunnel well to the west of Stonehenge. The visual impact of the tunnel entrance will be minimised with a 200-metre-long grassed-over canopy.
The twin-bore tunnel will be around two miles long, passing more than 200 metres to the south of Stonehenge at its closest point, further away than the existing road.
The new road will emerge from the tunnel, under a grassed-over canopy - well out of sight of Stonehenge - approximately 100 metres to the east of The Avenue. This ancient ceremonial route to the stones from the River Avon will be reconnected over the top of the tunnel.
The A303 will pass above the A345 at Countess roundabout, connected by slip roads. The roundabout will be controlled by traffic signals making it easier and safer for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to travel along the A345. The design here includes embankments with landscaped slopes and a noise barrier along both sides of the elevated road.
The Secretary of State has until November to make a decision, followed by a public announcement.
Within three months of the examination ending, the Inspectors complete their report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
A panel of inspectors has six months to examine the application. People who have registered as interested parties can submit written representations and ask to speak at public hearings.
People register with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party and make formal representation about the scheme.
A supplementary consultation takes place in July and August, covering design changes made in direct response to feedback received earlier in the year.
Highways England holds a second public consultation between February and April, asking for feedback on design proposals for the preferred route.
The Secretary of State for Transport announces the preferred route for the scheme, including a twin-bore tunnel.
A303/A358 corridor schemes are included