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A303 Stonehenge

A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge)

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New safety improvements for Amesbury shared footway
June 11th, 2020

New safety improvements for Amesbury shared footway

We’ve joined forces with Wiltshire Council to help improve the safety of walkers and cyclists with an upgrade of National Cycle route 45 around Solstice Park near Amesbury thanks to over £100,000 of Highways England funding.  

Wiltshire Council completed work on 350-metre section of the route in mid-March, which included widening the footway to accommodate the shared use of the cycleway for both cyclists and pedestrians. Four crossing points have also been upgraded, and signage has been improved. 

 

Before

 

After

National Cycle route 45 runs from Chester to Salisbury, two of England’s most picturesque and historical cities.  Previously a gap in the route meant that cyclists had to dismount and walk their bicycle along the footpath, or re-join the road to travel around two busy roundabouts. 

Before

 

After

Once built, the A303 Stonehenge scheme will provide more than ten miles of public rights of way allowing people to better enjoy the ancient stones and help them to explore other fascinating prehistoric monuments in the surrounding landscape.  

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Highways said: “We were delighted to work with Highways England on this project to improve cycling provision in this area next to the A303. 

“This scheme will improve safety for both cyclists and pedestrians on this section of National Cycle route 45, and we look forward to more enhancements to cycling routes in the area when the A303 Stonehenge scheme gain approval from government.” 

We’ve been working closely with Wiltshire Council and other stakeholders exploring ways to enhance existing routes for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, as well as providing additional links to the National Cycle Network. 

The Cycle route upgrade was made possible through funding obtained from Highways England’s Designated Funds – which were set up to provide benefits to the people, communities and businesses who live and work alongside our strategic road network.   

 


Search for A303 archaeological specialists kicks off
June 1st, 2020

Search for A303 archaeological specialists kicks off

Worker carrying out surveys in Wiltshire landscape

We’ve launched a search to find archaeological specialists to carry out excavation and mitigation work ahead of our proposed upgrade of the A303 past Stonehenge. This is expected to take around four months.

This doesn’t pre-empt the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision about our development consent order application – which is now expected by 17 July. We are progressing this procurement process to ensure the project is in the best position to proceed quickly, if we get the green light.

The World Heritage Site around Stonehenge is of national and international importance. We will ensure that archaeological remains are preserved and recorded by commissioning a world class team of archaeological experts.

We will continue to work closely with heritage bodies and the independent A303 scientific committee to ensure the scheme will conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site.

In the meantime, the procurement process for the main works contract has also been continuing with the selection of three bidders. Over the next year we will be participating in dialogue with these bidders before they submit their final tenders, with our preferred bidder expected to be announced in 2021.


Further information on up-coming surveys in the Countess roundabout area
March 10th, 2020

Further information on up-coming surveys in the Countess roundabout area

View of Countess roundabout from above

As part of ongoing preparation work for the A303 Stonehenge upgrade, we’re carrying out overnight surveys in the Countess Roundabout area from Monday 16 March until Thursday 19 March 2020.

Why are you doing surveys?

The surveys will allow us to test ground conditions and the strength of the existing road. To minimise disruption, they are scheduled to happen between 8pm and 5am.

Small sections of the road need to be temporarily closed for the safety of Highways England workers, drivers and the local community.

One lane will be closed on Countess roundabout, on the approaches to the roundabout on the A345 and on the A303 – from 300 metres west of Countess roundabout extending 700 metres eastwards. These lane closures will be removed each morning by 5am.

When is this work taking place?

Surveys will take place overnight between Monday 16 March and Thursday 19 March 2020.

How will this work affect me?

We need to temporarily close small sections of the road to ensure the safety of workers, road users and the local community. However, the road will still be open for traffic throughout the duration of the works.

Will this work create additional noise?

The surveying machinery will run in 20-minute intervals during working hours and will produce some noise. The noise will be similar to the sound of a motorcycle and could be heard by residents living near-by.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused while we carry this work out and thank residents for their continued patience.

Who’s carrying out the survey work?

We are responsible for this work and our approved subcontractor, WDM, are performing the surveys on our behalf. The surveys will require a small team on the site to operate survey equipment and setup the lane closures.

How do I find out future updates about these works?

We will provide any necessary updates to these survey works on the website and on our social media, so keep checking our channels below to stay up-to-date.

Twitter

Facebook

A303 Stonehenge

How can I get in touch?

If you would like more information or want to speak to a member of the project team, then please contact us through:

Email: A303Stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk

Phone: 0300 123 5000


Surveys continue at Winterbourne Stoke
February 28th, 2020

Surveys continue at Winterbourne Stoke

Highways England team in discussion at Countess roundabout

As part of our ongoing programme of surveys along the proposed route of the A303 Stonehenge scheme we’re carrying out more work to assess the condition of the road in Winterbourne Stoke.

Where is this work taking place?

Winterbourne Stoke (see map below)

Map showing where survey work is taking place

Google map view of Winterbourne Stoke showing where survey work is taking place

When is this work taking place?

Overnight Monday 2 March and Tuesday 3 March between 8pm and 5am.

What do the surveys involve?

A “Deflectograph” survey is used to measure the strength and condition of roads.

This survey is carried out in sections of about 300m using a specialised lorry travelling at slow speed, measuring how much the road moves or deflects due to the vehicle’s weight.

This kind of survey is mobile so once a section is complete the temporary traffic lights in place will be moved for the next part to be surveyed.

This work is being carried out on behalf of Highways England by a small team of contractors and needs to be completed to help inform the design of the scheme.

Will you be closing roads?

We won’t be closing the road, but will need to close small sections of one carriageway with temporary traffic lights.

Temporary traffic lights will be in place overnight and moved while the survey work is carried out.

This kind of survey is mobile so once a section is complete the traffic lights in place will be moved for the next part to be surveyed.

Will the work be noisy?

No.


New Business survey launched
January 28th, 2020

New Business survey launched

We’re launching a survey to help understand the needs of local companies and businesses that use the A303 past Stonehenge.

The scheme is nearing the end of the planning process with a decision expected in early April by the Secretary of State for Transport.

We want to engage with businesses at an early stage ahead of construction.

The survey aims to discover how businesses and their customers use the current A303, find out what concerns they might have during construction – so we can look at well ahead of work starting – and understand the best ways of talking to each other in the future.  We also want to hear about the benefits that the road upgrade could bring to local businesses.

We’re working with organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Freight Transport Association, Road Haulage Association, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Stonehenge Chamber and Wiltshire Council to reach as many businesses as possible.

You can complete the quick survey here anonymously if you wish.


The dangers of rat running – blog by a Shrewton resident
January 24th, 2020

The dangers of rat running – blog by a Shrewton resident

Queuing traffic along the A303

Our once quaint rural village of Shrewton with a beating heart of a community has become a busy corridor of cars, lorries and coaches. The narrow, winding B3083, together with the B3086, is a frequently used route through the village.

It is often grid-locked with traffic. Impatient drivers swerve around parked cars like slalom skiers, with complete disregard for the safety of themselves and oncoming pedestrians.

The streams of traffic passing through are making it harder and harder for us to live our lives.

You may be asking who are all these drivers and what are they doing on this little village street? These are rat runners.

The overwhelming majority have abandoned the A303 a mile away to escape the daily congestion; many are tired, angry, impatient and just want to get from A to B.

Sadly, they’re using a road that was never intended to take this volume of traffic, and our poor village is crumbling under the weight of this congestion.

The vicar of the local church asked for volunteers to drive elderly people 100 metres to church, as people were too afraid to walk. An elderly resident broke down in tears to me as she described how petrified she was to walk from one end of the High Street to the other.

Throughout the village people are having to face risks just to leave their own homes.

There’s been damage done to homes – rat runners collide with parked cars, garden fences walls, and worse still people have been injured in collisions. With no pavements on the roads we don’t really have an alternative, or else we’ll end up confined to our homes – isolated from our community and the world. People in Shrewton are desperate for help.

The traffic is never-ending, and we’ve been incredibly fortunate not to have had any fatalities up to now – a serious accident is just waiting to happen.

We need this A303 upgrade because our village can’t cope anymore – something needs to change.

 


My family and the A303 – blog by a Chitterne resident
January 20th, 2020

My family and the A303 – blog by a Chitterne resident

My family and the A303 – Something needs to change

As a resident of Chitterne for over 10 years, I enjoy everything the village has to offer. It’s a special place with a friendly, passionate community, and I feel lucky to call it my home. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, our peaceful, countryside village has slowly been overwhelmed by dangerous rat running, tourist coaches and Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) – making us feel unsafe.

The narrow B390 is the main road through our village and unfortunately it has become the A303  Stonehenge bypass, being used by anyone trying to avoid the busy – more often than not stationary  A303 – making it very difficult for anyone living on the main road here to get out and about.

Traffic fills the road, often travelling too fast for the 30 mph limit and is a constant threat to anyone using the road not in a car – as in places there is no pavement. My mother now refuses to walk down the road to access the bridleway after being forced into a hedge by a speeding car – she’s still badly shaken by the near miss.

It’s not just pedestrians who are affected, while horse riding and cycling with my daughter we’ve met angry drivers overtaking us on blind bends, double decker tourist coaches and large lorries racing through our small country village saving time on their journeys and risking our lives.

On one occasion a car drove into our wall, while another driver crashed into a house up the road – thankfully no one was injured. It’s a miracle there have not been more accidents and more of my neighbours hurt.

It has now become normal for me to check road traffic conditions before even thinking about going out.

I worry about my daughter using the road by herself, due to the disregard most, not all, vehicle drivers have for the village and its residents.

The stream of traffic impacts our lives every day, and we’re just one family.

We want to reclaim our village from the traffic and desperately need an improved A303, to keep the high volumes of traffic away from ours and neighbouring villages and to help my family, and community feel safe again.

words from a Chitterne resident 


Utility surveys continue at Countess roundabout
January 10th, 2020

Utility surveys continue at Countess roundabout

View of Countess roundabout from above

We’re back at Countess roundabout carrying out surveys over a three-week period.

There will be no disruption to the local community and travelling public as the work will happen overnight (between 8pm and 6am) Monday to Thursday.

From Monday 13 January, Ground Penetrating Radar will be used to locate buried utilities on and around the roundabout.

These surveys will provide further information for the contractor who will be appointed to design and build the proposed flyover at Countess roundabout.

Read more on work we carried out in the area during the summer and autumn of 2019.

Read more about the procurement process for appointing the contractor in our news story.

 


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.