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Traffic tunnel to be built under Stonehenge

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Stonehenge, one of the UK's most iconic tourist spots, is to get a 3-km-long tunnel that will help in cutting traffic congestion and improving journey time to the World Heritage site.

The dual carriageway tunnel will be built under the pre-historic monument in Wiltshire, south-west England, as part of a 2 billion pound scheme.

UK transport minister Chris Grayling said today that the tunnel will "transform" the busy A303 highway by "cutting congestion and improving journey times" and provide a "boost" to the UK economy.

"This major investment in the south-west will transform the A303 and benefit those locally by cutting congestion and improving journey times.

It will also boost the economy, linking people with jobs, and businesses with customers - driving forward our agenda to build a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few," he said.

The move is aimed at preserving views of the ancient site, which have been damaged for almost 90 years since the A303, which now carries up to 30,000 vehicles a day, was opened just 165 metres from the stone circle.

A public consultation to get the views of drivers and residents opened on Thursday and will run until March 5.

Some campaign groups has expressed their reservations over the move.

In a statement, the Stonehenge Alliance group said: "The Alliance does not advocate new road building at Stonehenge, but accepts the need to improve the tranquillity and appearance of the World Heritage Site and its setting."

"If the government insists on widening the A303 by means of a tunnel, it must be sufficiently long to avoid any further damage to (Stonehenge) and its setting. Work on the tunnel is due to start in 2020 and be completed by 2029," the statement said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, January 12 2017. 19:43 IST