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A303 Stonehenge

A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge)

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Lane closures at Countess roundabout removed early
December 9th, 2019

Lane closures at Countess roundabout removed early

Highways England team in discussion at Countess roundabout

We’ve completed our programme of Ground Investigation (GI) work early so have not reinstated temporary lane closures on Countess roundabout, and its approaches on Monday 9 December 2019.

The five-week programme of GI work focused on gathering more information on ground conditions and hydrology in the area.

This will help inform the detailed design of the new Countess flyover that is proposed as part of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme.

We’d like to thank drivers and the local community for their patience.

Read more about the work we’ve been doing recently in our latest news section.


What we’re doing on site this Autumn
October 29th, 2019

What we’re doing on site this Autumn

Picture showing worker surveying scheme area

We’ve been carrying out surveys since June along the proposed route for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge).

Work in the summer took place at western end of the scheme, and in November we moved to a section at the eastern end.

You’re probably wondering what we’re doing and why.

To help answer some of your questions we’ve put together a useful Q&A.

Will there be any road closures as part of this work?

No, however there are  lane closures. We’ve put in temporary traffic management on Countess roundabout, its exits and approaches, over a period of six-weeks from Sunday 3 November until Friday 13 December.

Lane closures are in place from Sunday evenings until early Friday morning so our team can carry out survey work safely.

To avoid disruption during busier times we’ll remove lane closures by 6am Fridays and reinstate them Sunday evenings.

Traffic still has access to Countess roundabout, it’s just limited to a single lane, so please plan ahead of any journeys you expect to make in the area.

We apologise for any inconvenience and can assure you that there are no diversions planned.

Separate to this work we’re also carrying out road surveys in Winterbourne Stoke. Temporary traffic lights will be in place from the western end of the village to the eastern side overnight, between the hours of 8pm and 6am. This work will begin Monday 18 November and will be finished by 6am Saturday 23 November.

What does the survey work involve?

We’re carrying out different work over a 6-week period:

Week 1-2: Vegetation clearance and archaeological surveys.

Week 3-4: Ground penetrating radar – checking for utilities.

Week 4-6: Ground investigations – involving the drilling of boreholes and digging of trial pits.

The examination finished in October, so why are you carrying out work now?

The formal examination finished in October – an independent panel of inspectors are now reviewing our application making their recommendation to the Transport Secretary in three months, who will then make his or her decision by April 2020.

So that we can keep to our schedule to begin construction in autumn 2021 (if given the go-ahead) we started our search to find a contractor to build the scheme in the summer.

The phase of survey work is essential as we need to get more information on ground conditions for the detailed design of the proposed Countess flyover.

We’ve already conducted surveys over the past couple of years, which has helped us draw up the preliminary design of the scheme and this is being examined as part of the planning or “Development Consent Order” process.

Are you carrying out any work at Blick Mead?

No, none of the survey work we’re doing between November and December will take place at Blick Mead.

If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Project team get out of the office and into the Wiltshire wild
October 23rd, 2019

Project team get out of the office and into the Wiltshire wild

Last week members of the A303 Stonehenge project team stepped out of the office and into the wild for a day of volunteering – doing their bit for the Wiltshire countryside.

A303 project team members  together at Devenish Nature Reserve

The team of 12 arrived at Devenish Nature Reserve last Wednesday (16 October 2019) and got straight to work coppicing hazel trees, a traditional method of woodland management – which increases light levels and helps plants, and wildlife thrive.

Colleagues work together to create fencing around hazel tree stumps

This technique aids with the timber process that happens each year, creating opportunities for regular harvest in a way that prolongs the life of the tree.

Pieces of hazel cut were used to create fences around the stumps, to protect new growth from being eaten by deer. The team fenced off a total of 7 stumps during their time. No cuttings were wasted either, anything too small to be used for fencing was used to create a ‘bug hotel’ for insects, and smaller rodents.

Fencing is created with hazel tree cuttings

Richard Death Volunteer Warden for Devenish Nature Reserve has been volunteering for 30 years. He said: “The Highways England team worked hard, and I was absolutely delighted with results from the day. I am extremely grateful to the team for getting out of the office to support Wiltshire woodland spaces.

“Conservation voluntary work is great for mental and physical health – volunteers here get to enjoy the open air surrounded by the natural world, with friendly, and social people. Throughout the day there was a lot of hard work going on, but there was also a lot of laughter and chat – this area has benefited significantly from it.”

Photo showing extra areas of light coming through the trees

Kate Hunt, from the A303 Stonehenge team said: “Richard was so enthusiastic, sharing his knowledge of trees and fungi with us and the team of 12 had a fantastic time burning off excess energy with saws, loppers and hand knives.

“The end of the day came far too soon but we really made a huge difference to the woodland. I would have no hesitation in recommending others to get involved with volunteering opportunities if they have some free time to give.”

 


Residents talk about how the A303 impacts their day-to-day lives
October 22nd, 2019

Residents talk about how the A303 impacts their day-to-day lives

The A303 scheme past Stonehenge will improve the quality of life for residents in surrounding villages in a number of ways

Janice Hassett lives in Shrewton. The village of 1,700 residents has suffered from rat running for years.

Roger Fisher, Amesbury town Councillor, lives north of the A303 and is regularly caught up in traffic queues.

Myra Bennett, British Horse Society County Access Officer for Wiltshire, lives 10 miles away from the A303 and when travelling to the west country has to change her route depending on traffic queues past Stonehenge.

Dave Hassett lives in Shrewton. He talks about how fellow residents don’t feel safe walking in the village due to the volume of large vehicles passing through its narrow lanes.


A303 Stonehenge scheme achieves Excellent rating from CEEQUAL
October 22nd, 2019

A303 Stonehenge scheme achieves Excellent rating from CEEQUAL

Last week we celebrated success on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme, achieving an interim Excellent rating in our Sustainability Assessment from CEEQUAL.

Director for CEEQUAL Ian Nicholson presented, CIP Director Chris Taylor and A303 Project Director Derek Parody with a certificate to mark the achievement in Bristol on Thursday 17 October 2019.

The CEEQUAL Exceptional Achievement Awards showcase and reward project teams who have pioneered innovation and clearly demonstrated best practice in a specific area on the project.

Chris Taylor, Complex Infrastructure Programme Director at Highways England said: “We are delighted to have been awarded an excellent rating by CEEQUAL for Sustainability on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme.

“This is a unique project for Highways England, and given the setting in the World Heritage Site we wanted to make the most of the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to stretching standards for the environment and sustainability”.


Scheme reaches next milestone this week
October 3rd, 2019

Scheme reaches next milestone this week

Photo of existing A303 fillled with traffic

Following the launch of an 18-month procurement process in July, yesterday we reached another milestone with the conclusion of the six-month Development Consent Order (DCO) examination.

The panel of inspectors who have been hearing evidence throughout the examination now have three months to write a report with a recommendation for the Secretary of State for Transport, who is expected to make a decision in spring 2020.

To find out more information on the examination process please visit the Planning Inspectorate’s website.


Survey work for scheme enters next stage
October 2nd, 2019

Survey work for scheme enters next stage

Worker carrying out surveys in Wiltshire landscape

From Monday 7 October  we’re beginning our next stage of investigation work at Countess roundabout as part of the proposed A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme.

During the summer we let you know about the beginning of this work, which is getting more information for the bidders – who will be tendering to be awarded the contract for constructing the scheme.

The work at Countess will take place over night and a night-time closure will be in place on the roundabout on weeknights, between the hours of 8pm and 6am, for a total of three weeks – from Monday 7 October 2o19.

Once these surveys are complete there will be a further six weeks of ground investigation work taking place from the start of November, and will involve the drilling of boreholes and shallow trial pits with lane closures in place for safety reasons.

Drivers are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.


Spotlight on Community Forum
September 11th, 2019

Spotlight on Community Forum

Community Forum meeting July

Our Community Forum brings together the A303 Stonehenge project team with communities and groups to share information, discuss local concerns and get involved in wider legacy ambitions. Members meet every couple of months and are briefed on what’s happening. They also have the opportunity to ask questions to members of the project team.

Here’s what members think about the forum:

What’s it all about?

“We have an Independent Chair – so everyone gets a chance to put across their opinion confident that it will get a fair hearing.” – Chris Coats, Orcheston resident

“But it works both ways. Highways England provides us with the information and there’s also tremendous opportunity to get feedback over our specific problems.” – Dave Hassett, Shrewton Traffic Group

What’s the main benefit of attending?

“The Community Forum, and particularly the chairman, has proved invaluable in giving representatives an overview of the DCO process and a very accurate view of the way the Planning Inspectors would run the process.  It has also provided a useful start to the Legacies and Benefits opportunities process that has been run on other Highways England road schemes.” Cllr Dr Andrew Shuttleworth, representing Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council

It gave me the welcome chance to talk to local Parish Councillors, and our local cycling group, about ideas for improving off-road access links over the World Heritage Site for pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists.” – Myra Bennett, British Horse Society County Access Officer for Wiltshire

How do you see it working in the future?

“We’ve talked a bit already in the community forum about the legacy that Highways England wants to leave behind. We have an opportunity to get involved in that and this will help us do it.” Kathi Sharp, Durrington resident

View our full series of videos on You Tube.

Forum meetings take place regularly – if your local group or community aren’t represented and you’d like to attend on their behalf  please get in touch by emailing A303Stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk 


New images bring scheme to life
September 10th, 2019

New images bring scheme to life

What the existing A303 could look like

New images published as part of the Examination process are bringing the proposed Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme to life.

The computer-generated images show what the scheme could look like once completed, in 2026.

The existing A303 in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site will be transformed to a restricted byway, giving pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders improved access through the pre-historic landscape, enhancing their experience.

New rights of way are just some of the many benefits the scheme will deliver to the area if given the go-ahead in April 2020.

Other benefits include improved journey times, the creation of new habitats for birds and other local fauna and the reconnection of the  severed northern and southern halves of the World Heritage Site.

Have a look at the updated images on our interactive map now and get a feel for how our scheme could look.

Latest information on the Examination process can be found via the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

 


Natural England joins July’s Community Forum
August 2nd, 2019

Natural England joins July’s Community Forum

Community Forum meeting 24 July at Antrobus House

The latest Community Forum welcomed Charles Routh, team leader for Natural England who talked about his work with Highways England to increase biodiversity in the area as part of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme.  

Within the Development Consent Order (DCO) application currently being examined, there’s a proposal for almost 400 acres of new chalk grassland habitat to be created, which will increase wildlife numbers.  

Members were also updated on the progress of the scheme and given the opportunity to ask questions on a range of issuesForum members represent communities from the local area and include Shrewton, Winterbourne Stoke, Berwick St James, Chitterne, Durrington and many more areas

Independent Chair Jim Claydon helps communities, local organisations and groups put forward their ideas and or concerns on the road scheme

If you’d like a copy of the Community Forum meeting notes, or you’d like to attend on behalf of your community at September’s meeting, please email the project team on a303stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk  


Proposed changes consultation opens
July 26th, 2019

Proposed changes consultation opens

Photo of site notice

We are proposing to make some minor changes to the Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme in direct response to feedback we’ve received during the current examination process.

We are carrying out a public consultation to ensure that anyone who might have a view on the changes has an opportunity to comment.

Eight minor ‘non-material’ changes are being proposed – ranging from adding a new access into a field for a landowner, changing the classification (or road numbering) of certain sections of road, to closing and grassing over a layby near Winterbourne Stoke.

All the changes we are proposing are outlined in our 2-page leaflet and in more detail in our consultation booklet. The consultation booklet can also be viewed at Amesbury Library and Salisbury Library. USBs are available on request.

How to have your say

Please contact us with any comments or feedback by:

  • Email: A303Stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • Post: A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down, Highways England, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6HA

The consultation runs from Friday 26 July until 11.59pm on Monday 26 August. After it has closed, we will write a report on the consultation and submit it to the examination on 6 September.


Minor changes proposed to scheme – Consultation to open later today
July 26th, 2019

Minor changes proposed to scheme – Consultation to open later today

Photo of existing A303 road

We are proposing to make some minor changes to the Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme in direct response to feedback we’ve received during the current examination process.

We will be carrying out a public consultation to ensure that anyone who might have a view on the changes has an opportunity to comment.

All the changes we are proposing will be outlined in detail in a leaflet and consultation booklet which will be available on our website shortly.

The consultation will open at lunchtime today (Friday 26 July) and close at 11.59pm on Monday 26 August.


Search for contractors to build A303 scheme launched
July 15th, 2019

Search for contractors to build A303 scheme launched

Photo of existing A303 fillled with traffic

The Government has given us the go-ahead to start looking for potential contractors to build A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme.

We’ve placed a contract notice in the Official Union of the European Union (OJEU) to begin the 18-month process to find a world-class contractor.

This does not pre-empt the outcome of the current examination. We need to start our procurement now to ensure we can start work on schedule in 2021, if the scheme gets planning consent.

This is an important milestone for us as it demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment and shows we’re on track as planned.

Read our media release for further information on the process.


Environmental Statement goes digital
July 10th, 2019

Environmental Statement goes digital

Picture of Digital Environmental Statement front page

This week we launched our new digital Environmental Statement.

We’ve taken the 7,000 pages, 250 documents and 100+ maps that made up of our more traditional  Environmental Statement that was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as part of our DCO application – and created an interactive version.

It’s a totally new way of examining the environmental and heritage context of the scheme.

The digital Environmental Statement is specially designed to be simple to navigate so you can find  information quickly and easily. It contains maps, reports and visualisations – which can be explored interactively.  

Take a look here.


Summer Solstice pause for ground investigation work
June 21st, 2019

Summer Solstice pause for ground investigation work

Disappearing road video

Our latest ground investigation work is now well underway  –  but we’ve respectfully halted to ensure no visible or audible disruption to the Summer Solstice – which took place on 21 June.

Our proposed scheme will  remove the sight and sound of traffic from Stonehenge and restore the natural setting of the world famous monument. Creating tranquillity and reuniting the World Heritage site landscape is central to our plans and will improve the experience for visitors to Stonehenge.

Watch our short video clip below and see how the road will disappear.

To find out more about the ground investigation work you can read the Q&A we’ve put together. We hope you find it useful.

 


What we’re doing on site this Summer
June 12th, 2019

What we’re doing on site this Summer

Photo of existing A303

We will be conducting ground investigation surveys in the coming months along the proposed route for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme, with most of the work taking place in the western part of the scheme.

You may wonder what exactly is happening, especially if you spot us working alongside the A303. To help, we’ve put together a Q&A we hope you find useful. If you want to know more, please get in touch, our contact details are at the bottom of this page.

What are ground investigation surveys?

Ground investigation (known as GI) surveys are carried out to understand the geology of the ground along the route of any road construction scheme.

What’s involved?

We will be drilling a number of boreholes, and digging shallow trial pits at various locations including along the western approach to the tunnel and where new bridges are proposed.

Before starting any work, we will be carrying out careful archaeological surveys at each location to ensure we avoid any risk of damage.

Most of the survey locations will be near the current A303 and none of the work will be carried out close to residential properties.

Why are you doing these surveys now?

We’ve already conducted surveys over the past couple of years which has helped us draw up the preliminary design of the scheme.  This is currently being examined as part of the planning or “Development Consent Order” process. 

To ensure we can start construction on schedule in 2021 (if the scheme gets the go-ahead) we need to start looking for a main works contractor at the end of this year.   As part of this tender process, we need to gather more in-depth information about the ground and water conditions so that construction companies have a complete picture when they bid to design and build the scheme.

Will the work disturb the Summer solstice?

No. We fully understand the importance of the Summer solstice and will pause our activity the day before (Thursday 20 June) to avoid any disruption to this event. We will recommence works on Monday 24 June.

Will there be any road closures on the A303?

There are no planned road closures and drivers should expect no disruption from our survey activity.

Get in Touch:

By email: A303Stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk

By Phone: 0330 123 5000

Follow us:

Twitter: @A303Stonehenge


Community Forum latest
June 7th, 2019

Community Forum latest

Photo of Community Forum meeting May 2019

Residents from Chitterne, Winterbourne Stoke, Shrewton and Berwick St James were among the attendees of our latest community forum held on 8 May.

Dominating the discussions were the Open Floor Hearings (which took place the following week).  Independent Chair Jim Claydon and the Highways England team fielded questions including detailed queries about what happens during these and June’s Issue Specific hearings,  as well as discussing the forthcoming ground investigation works.

If you’d like a copy of the Community Forum meeting notes, or if you’d like to attend on behalf of your community at July’s meeting, please email the project team on a303stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk

The Community Forum brings together people representing local communities and groups with the project team to help maximise the benefits that the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) scheme will offer to the area.


Issue Specific Hearings begin in Salisbury
June 7th, 2019

Issue Specific Hearings begin in Salisbury

Issue Specific Hearing 6 June 2019 at City Hall, Salisbury

Tuesday 4 June saw the first of the Issue Specific Hearings take place in Salisbury’s City Hall as part of the Development Consent Order (DCO) Examination.

The first hearing covered the draft DCO order, with future meetings expected to deal with issues such as cultural heritage, transport and biodiversity. At the hearings, the Examining Authority will take a deeper look at these issues, hearing evidence from a variety of organisations and individuals. In total seven hearings will take place in June.

Further information on these hearings can be found on the Planning Inspectorates website.

These follow the Open Floor Hearings (which took place in May), where a range of different people talked about various issues.


Public Hearings Announced
May 7th, 2019

Public Hearings Announced

Planning Inspectors will be listening to a whole range of views about the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme at Open Floor Hearings at City Hall in Salisbury. Members of the public will be speaking at one of four hearings  – two daytime and two evening sessions  – on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 May. The hearings start at 10am and 7pm, with doors opening 30 minutes before.

To find out more about these and other hearings including the accompanied site visit:  https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/a303-stonehenge/


Examination kicks off following preliminary meeting
May 7th, 2019

Examination kicks off following preliminary meeting

The six-month Examination period has officially started following the preliminary meeting held at Salisbury racecourse on Tuesday 2 April.

The five inspectors appointed by the Planning Inspectorate to conduct the Examination were introduced to a mixed audience of local residents, stakeholders and interest groups.

At the meeting, details of procedures, deadlines and the timetable for the next six months were discussed – with the next steps being confirmed in an official “Rule 8” letter issued on 11 April.