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Highways England gives heads up for Stonehenge tunnel opportunities

stonehenge A303

Highways England has issued a prior information notice to inform the market of potential opportunities for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down project which passes through Stonehenge.

The proposed project comprises of a new 13km dual, two-lane carriageway, including a bypass to the north of Winterbourne Stoke with a viaduct over the River Till, a new junction between the A303 and A360 to the west of and outside the World Heritage Site (WHS), replacing the existing Longbarrow Roundabout, a 1.6km twin-bore tunnel through the WHS and past Stonehenge and a new junction between the A303 and A345 at the existing Countess Roundabout.

The prior information notice states: “This is a large and complex project, which will require critical capabilities from balanced, diverse and sustainable supply chain partners.

“Highways England remains committed and looks forward to talking to all those in the UK, European and International markets who are interested in helping us deliver this project.”

Invites to specialist events will be targeted to relevant specialisms, Highways England has said. “Collaboration is at the heart of the relationships necessary to deliver at the scale and pace required.”

Last year more than 2,000 submissions were officially filed as part of the Planning Inspectorate’s consultation phase with concerns were raised by Historic England, Natural England and Wiltshire Council.

These include the lack of a detailed archaeological mitigation strategy, the impact of both the western and eastern portals and the installation of temporary infrastructure during construction.

“We accept the need to improve the road between Amesbury and Berwick Down,” Historic England’s official statement reads. “However if this potential is to be realised in practice we believe it is essential for a number of matters to be addressed satisfactorily.”

In April last year the International Council on Monuments and Sites UK (ICOMOS-UK) described the plans for the A303 Stonehenge tunnel as “severely flawed” and called for the project to be put on hold and re-assessed.

Highways England intends to use an e-sourcing portal to communicate and undertake further market engagement activities for the scheme and has asked interested parties to register. It plans to hold supplier engagement events such as an interactive webinar session and an industry day prior to the launch of the procurement exercise in July 2019.

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