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Realistic about challenges faced during A303 fight
Updated 11:43am Thursday 20th March 2014 in Salisbury Letters
I WELCOME Tom Corbin’s contribution to the A303 debate.
Few people would disagree that there is a long way to go to secure a solution in the World Heritage Site that will meet the aspirations of the many competing interest groups.
However, I could not help but note that his letter did not specify which solution he would choose to pursue.
Having spent a great deal of time engaging with English Heritage, The National Trust, Salisbury Traffic Action Group (STAG), members of Amesbury Town Council and The Stonehenge Alliance, not to mention countless individual campaigners and road users, I am well aware that consensus is not easy to come by.
Like Mr Corbin, I too have studied the past incarnations of a Stonehenge road scheme in some detail and am acquainted with the reasons why each one failed. However, my constituents have made it clear that doing nothing is no longer an option and I will not shirk from the fight they have asked me to undertake.
In defining a negotiating position, as Salisbury’s MP, of course I am going to look first and foremost for the maximum investment in my constituency - not start out arguing for a tame compromise.
My task is to persuade this government that they should not dismiss Stonehenge, like so many administrations before them, because it is ‘too difficult’.
Of course, compromises may be put on the table and, as people would expect, I will assess each on its merits, should that be necessary. I am realistic about the scale of the challenge, but I really think it is time to move beyond what we couldn’t do in the past and look afresh at what we can do now.
John Glen, Member of Parliament for Salisbury
I’M sure many people will be pleased to see that Salisbury MP John Glen is trying hard to get some movement on the A303 improvement past Stonehenge and beyond.
Heaven knows, unless something is done soon there will be no traffic movement on the A303 from Beacon Hill to Stonehenge in the summers to come.
Unfortunately, I disagree with his tunnel suggestion.
I have told him that I feel that this allows the decision makers to, once again, reject it on the grounds of feasibility or cost.
I feel the most obvious and sensible option is to bravely ignore English Heritage and UNESCO and dual the A303 past Stonehenge.
The road should be continued with the Winterbourne Stoke bypass and even on to the Mere bypass.
This would benefit the region as a whole.
John Cutland, Wilton
THE proposal by John Glen MP to resurrect the idea of a tunnel past Stonehenge will only delay this trunk road improvement.
The scheme was rejected on cost grounds, around £500m, with safety a further obstacle.
Now we learn the Hindhead tunnel has had more than 50 lane closures in its first year due to a variety of technical problems.
The 2.8km A303 tunnel, which would be one-and-a-half times as long, stands to have numerous lane closures.
The recently constructed Hindhead tunnel cost £279m, so if geological considerations are similar, a Stonehenge tunnel could be expected to cost around £434m, not far short of the previous figure.
Taking the success of the Twyford Down cutting at keeping the A3 traffic out of sight and sound of Winchester, the solution for the A303 must surely be a dual carriageway sunk in a trench, or the existing route should be utilised with two parallel trenches.
An archaeological sweep over the tract of land beside the existing road could be done this summer to allow a start to be made next year, if the Government has a mind to do it.
Christopher Penfold, Salisbury
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