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TRAFFIC chaos has been the result of the closure of a road past Stonehenge according to furious people whose communities are being used as rat runs.
Long tailbacks along the A303 and jams along small countryside roads are being blamed on the closure of the A344 to make way for a new visitor centre for the ancient monument, and residents say works to Longbarrow roundabout are making matters even worse.
People in Amesbury, Shrewton, Bulford, Durrington, Larkhill and Winterbourne Stoke say they have been left to deal with thousands of extra motorists using the villages as rat runs, particularly at weekends.
And over the August bank holiday weekend they say tailbacks reached up to 12 miles long along the A303.
The A344 was closed by Wiltshire Council between its junction with the A303 at Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12 on June 24 as part of English Heritage’s multi-million pound improvement project at the site.
And Longbarrow roundabout was changed by the Highways Agency to accommodate three lanes of traffic, with the aim of easing the traffic flow in the area.
But the work is now being blamed for making a bad situation worse, leading to renewed calls for something to be done about traffic on and around the main A303 route to the south.
In Shrewton, an action group has been set up to put pressure on politicians to improve the situation.
Janice Hassett, who has lived in the village for 22 years, set up Shrewton Traffic Action Group (STAG), and is calling for the dualling of the A303 as well as a 20mph speed limit through the village.
“It is for the residents of Shrewton to speak with one voice for maximum impact,” said Mrs Hassett.
“Somebody needs to do something.”
The issue will be the main agenda item at a meeting of Wiltshire Council’s Amesbury area board on September 19, being held at Shrewton Recreational Hall from 6pm.