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A303 traffic misery looms
MONTHS of misery could lie ahead for motorists using the traffic-choked A303, local residents and councillors fear.
They say the problem is being made worse by the new Stonehenge visitor centre and are calling for action to be taken now before the summer months when the queues are likely to get even worse.
Last year huge tailbacks built up on the road near Countess Roundabout forcing thousands of motorists to seek alternative routes through nearby villages.
Meetings between police, residents, the Highways Agency, local councils and English Heritage are being held and traffic cameras have been installed to monitor vehicle flows.
Traffic surveys are also being carried out, along with petitions and local campaigns to highlight the problem.
“Lots of work is going on behind the scenes,” councillor John Noeken told Amesbury Town Council last week.
“The Highways Agency has agreed to look at the calibration of the signal controls and more signage on Countess Roundabout.”
Criticism has been levelled at the new Stonehenge visitor centre, which local people say is adding to the congestion, particularly when the car park is full.
“What we need is message boards on the A303, or even back as far as the M3, advising people when Stonehenge is closed to everyone but prebooked ticket holders,” added Councillor Noeken.
“And we need to know where rat-running is taking place. We need to keep up the pressure.”
The issue was raised at Amesbury’s town meeting last month.
“The people at Stonehenge need to sort it out,” said Cllr Richard Crook. “There is no mention of Amesbury up there but we’re the ones who put up with all the traffic and the aggro.
“When the overflow parking falls behind, we suffer.”
Kate Davies, general manager of Stonehenge, said: “The problems with traffic on the A303 during the busy summer months are not new.
“But where the new Stonehenge visitor centre is concerned, we've worked closely with local groups, listened to their concerns, and responded.
We've applied to the Highways Agency for signage to alert visitors in advance if the car park is full. And during busy periods, we have car park attendants to ensure that all spaces in the car park are used.
“Amesbury is highlighted as a place to visit in a film right next to the ticket booth.
“We work closely with Amesbury Museum and promote visits to Amesbury via Facebook and Twitter.”
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