THE A360 is to be closed for three months as part of the A303 Stonehenge upgrade.

Essential work is scheduled to start in September to supply electricity for Highways England’s tunnel past Stonehenge.

The company say that to facilitate the supply for future construction and the tunnel, a section of the A360, between the junction of The Avenue and Longbarrow junction on the A303, will be closed from the first week of September to December.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will be installing high voltage and fibre optic cabling along the route, and this requires a full closure for safety reasons due to the narrow width of the road and minimal space along the verges.

The work will be carried out seven days a week, with some overnight working, to ensure the installation is completed as quickly as possible – three months as opposed to more than a year employing single lane closures and traffic signals.

During the closure, traffic will be diverted via the A345 and sections of the A303 and A36, and a comprehensive signage system is being developed to inform road users around Salisbury and as far away as Devizes and Shaftesbury to point traffic to alternate routes.

Salisbury Journal: The section of the A360 south of the Longbarrow junction will be closed for three months for essential cabling workThe section of the A360 south of the Longbarrow junction will be closed for three months for essential cabling work

Highways England is working closely with Wiltshire Council, and measures are also being put in place to protect local roads and communities by implementing weight restrictions on a number of roads, including through the Woodfords.

Provision will be made for emergency services access and access for local residents and businesses affected by the closures, and arrangements will be discussed shortly with residents alongside and close to the A360.

David Bullock, Highways England Project Manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: “The road scheme will ultimately tackle the longstanding issue of rat running and provide a real benefit to local communities, and we’ll be doing all we can to put in measures to lessen the impact of this work.

“We are working with our local authority partners, and we want to give as much notice as possible to residents, businesses and other interested parties, such as the Amesbury Area Board.

“We appreciate that roadworks and road closures can be frustrating and we’d like to thank motorists, local residents and businesses in advance for their patience when this vital work takes place.

“We have deliberately avoided the summer holiday season, and we’re also working towards completing the work ahead of the Winter Solstice.

“Without the full closure, the work would take a lot longer to complete, and we’re making every effort to ensure that the impact on drivers and local communities is kept to an absolute minimum. We will also ensure, along with our Wiltshire Council partners, that all traffic management measures are communicated well in advance.

“We acknowledge too that a legal process is ongoing, but in terms of the construction timescales, we need to put plans in place for the work, and the plans in no way pre-empt the outcome of the Judicial Review process.”

Both Highways England and Wiltshire Council are keen to give as much notice as possible to local communities ahead of the work later this year.

All businesses and organisations affected by the diversion are being notified, and will be kept up to date by SSEN throughout the work, and people will also be able to find out more information, together with further scheme updates, at a public information event to be held later this month.

Salisbury Journal: Cllr Dr Mark McClellandCllr Dr Mark McClelland

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Although the A360 is part of our highways network, this work is being carried out by Highways England and SSEN in preparation for the A303 improvement project.

“We know that this closure will affect many Wiltshire residents and visitors, and so our officers have been working closely with partner agencies to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

“We are installing diversion and warning signage in a wide area, from north Dorset to west and south Wiltshire, to ensure as many motorists as possible have an early warning to avoid the closure once the work starts in September.”

Highways England will be holding a virtual public information event on Tuesday, June 29.

Local residents and businesses will be able to submit questions and hear from the team in a live online Q&A session to find out more about the plans for the project, including works on the A360.

The event will start online at 7pm and a link to sign up will be made available on the scheme website.

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.