Controversial Stonehenge Tunnel Moves Forward

Lovers of Stonehenge are split on the idea
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2017 1:29 PM CST
Controversial Stonehenge Tunnel Moves Forward
The British government has finalized longtime plans to build a tunnel near Stonehenge to reduce the impacts of unsightly and noisy traffic on visitors to the famous landmark.   (AP Photo/John Miller/National Trust/PA)

It could finally be tunnel time at Stonehenge. NBC News reports that the 1.3 million annual visitors to the famous landmark have been dealing with increasing traffic on a nearby highway for years. Officials first proposed a tunnel to cut down on noisy and unsightly traffic yards away on the A303 nearly 30 years ago, but it never materialized. Now the British government has finalized plans to build that tunnel, according to the BBC. The 1.8-mile tunnel would include four lanes and cost an estimated $1.7 billion. The secretary of England's Department of Transport says the tunnel will reduce traffic and travel times near Stonehenge.

But the tunnel remains controversial, with Stonehenge fans weighing in on both sides. One supporter says tourists will "once again be able to hear the sounds of skylarks" instead of traffic. And UNESCO, which lists Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site, is in favor of the tunnel. But the Council for British Archaeology is against it, the Guardian reports. The council's president says the area around Stonehenge is the "world's most significant and best-preserved stone-age landscape." That's why the Stonehenge Alliance also opposes the current tunnel plan. The group wants the tunnel length increased to at least 2.7 miles to reduce disruption to the immediate area. Officials are accepting public comment on the tunnel through the beginning of March. (More Stonehenge stories.)

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