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10 June 2003
Draft plans for re-routing of Stonehenge road published

Draft plans for a £193 million road development around Stonehenge (England) have been made public, but divisions still exist over the details. Along with a £57 million visitor centre, it is hoped that the scheme’s re-routing of the A303 road—making it a dual carriageway road at its busiest section and re-routing it out of sight of the stones via a 2.1-km tunnel—will rescue the World Heritage site from its label as a “national disgrace”.
     However, the National Trust, while supporting the overall scheme, has reiterated its call for the government-proposed tunnel to be lengthened. Trust territory directory Martyn Heighton said, “We are not convinced that the plan for a 2.1-km tunnel will adequately safeguard the integrity of the site. This is a special site, not least for the unique sense of place which it inspires. We believe there are strong archaeological and curatorial reasons for building as long a tunnel as possible, to preserve and enhance the qualities of the site.”
     Landowners the National Trust, monument keepers English Heritage and the Highway Agency are working together on the scheme. The publishing of the plans sets off a 12-week public consultation period, followed by a public inquiry in the autumn to settle differences. If approved, work is scheduled to start in 2005, with traffic removed from the core of Stonehenge by 2008.
     Project manager Christ Jones said, “The A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme would relieve blighted communities such as Winterbourne Stoke, protect and preserve this country’s heritage and provide Stonehenge with the setting and facilities it deserves. I urge people to visit the exhibition so they can understand and support this essential scheme.”
     People can view and comment on the plans at the Antrobus Arms Hotel, Amesbury, from Thursday June 12 to Saturday June 14 from 10am to 8pm BST weekdays and until 5pm on Saturday.

Sources: BBC News (5 June 2003), Ananova.com (5 June 2003)

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