Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

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RJDG14
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by RJDG14 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 03:36

From the time when the idea of a tunnel underneath Stonehenge was first proposed, I always thought that the proposal felt like a white elephant considering that it's going to be in a comparatively rural area. I've personally felt for a long time that a better option, which doesn't seem to have been floated much, would be to reroute the A303 a mile or so to the south of Stonehenge starting at the roundabout with the A345 and rejoining the old alignment at around Winterbourne Stoke. While this route would require a number of compulsory land purchases, it would almost certainly still be a lot cheaper to build than the tunnel that the government has favoured until now, and would also be far enough away from Stonehenge that it would be unlikely to lose its World Heritage status.

Below is what my proposal would be in red, with the approximate route of the until-now proposed new road and tunnel in blue and light blue:
StonehengeOptions.png
I could find online articles stating that the general public generally favoured an option similar to mine as far back as 1999 and so it doesn't make much sense why successive British governments have all favoured the tunnel option when it would probably be several times more expensive and would likely be more harmful to Stonehenge.

The A3 Hindhead tunnel is quite similar in many respects to how this tunnel would be when it comes to traffic levels, however in its case a tunnel is the only D2 option due to the steep terrain. Stonehenge and Amesbury by comparison are located on a relatively flat plain.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sat Jul 31, 2021 06:30

RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 03:36
From the time when the idea of a tunnel underneath Stonehenge was first proposed, I always thought that the proposal felt like a white elephant considering that it's going to be in a comparatively rural area. I've personally felt for a long time that a better option, which doesn't seem to have been floated much, would be to reroute the A303 a mile or so to the south of Stonehenge starting at the roundabout with the A345 and rejoining the old alignment at around Winterbourne Stoke. While this route would require a number of compulsory land purchases, it would almost certainly still be a lot cheaper to build than the tunnel that the government has favoured until now, and would also be far enough away from Stonehenge that it would be unlikely to lose its World Heritage status.
I suspect you do not realise how big the World Heritage Site is... it's not just a small circle around the stones - and there is, of course, another area around Avebury - with the A4 and A(4)361 traipsing though it
stonehenge 50pc.png
Also, the WHS is based on the landscape and views (especially south!) so driving a new road *through* it is not going to work.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Tinpusher » Sat Jul 31, 2021 08:08

Millions wasted yet again.

I hate the endless recourse to parliament, looking for mere technicalities which, can be used to deny years of work.

I hate judicial activism, where judges who dislike the government of the day, can grind their axes in these manners. I hate the recent unwelcome imposition of an American style Supreme Court by the lawyer Tony Blair.

Why do I hate it all? Simple. The legal system has grown into a monstrous impenetrable growth of confusing language, and high barriers of entry. Thus, they can all sit fat and happy suckling on the teat which we, the ignorant masses, provide for them.

It shouldn't be this way. Anyway. Rant over.

One day, the people of Winterbourne Stoke, will burn down the houses of these eco warriors in a torchlit procession. Seems to be the only way they'll ever be free of the 303.

There's a folk song for a guy with a guitar and a west country accent. "Oh to be free of the 303 - a Lament for the Stones."

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by KeithW » Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:13

Tinpusher wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 08:08
Millions wasted yet again.

I hate the endless recourse to parliament, looking for mere technicalities which, can be used to deny years of work.

I hate judicial activism, where judges who dislike the government of the day, can grind their axes in these manners. I hate the recent unwelcome imposition of an American style Supreme Court by the lawyer Tony Blair.

Why do I hate it all? Simple. The legal system has grown into a monstrous impenetrable growth of confusing language, and high barriers of entry. Thus, they can all sit fat and happy suckling on the teat which we, the ignorant masses, provide for them.

It shouldn't be this way. Anyway. Rant over.

One day, the people of Winterbourne Stoke, will burn down the houses of these eco warriors in a torchlit procession. Seems to be the only way they'll ever be free of the 303.

There's a folk song for a guy with a guitar and a west country accent. "Oh to be free of the 303 - a Lament for the Stones."
Elected politicians make the laws, the judiciary has to interpret and apply them. The alternative is tyranny which has a rather unfortunate history. Try reading up on the rule of the Major Generals during the Protectorate. They clamped down on what they considered to be rowdy behaviour like heavy drinking, music, dancing and fairs. They even tried to ban Christmas celebrations. They were all senior officers in the New Model Army. This was in modern terms a Military Junta

Prior to the passing of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 the function of the Supreme Court was carried out by the Appellate Committee of The House of Lords. The selection of the members of the Supreme Court is rather more open than that of Apellate Committee which was basically made up of individuals appointed by the Lrd Chancellor which boasted some very eccentric individuals.

The opposite of a system based on law is called anarchism which has problems all of its own.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by SteveA30 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:20

The residents of Winterborne Stoke really need to pressurise the Gov and HE to separate their bypass from Stonehenge. It would also work in HE's favour, as a GSJ at Longbarrow rbt leading to a D2 bypass through to Wylye would apply even more pressure on the Stonehenge S2 section. Similar to Hindhead and Newbury.

Does this mean that Countess GSJ is also canned? That should also be done as a separate job.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Norfolktolancashire » Sat Jul 31, 2021 11:22

SteveA30 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:20
The residents of Winterborne Stoke really need to pressurise the Gov and HE to separate their bypass from Stonehenge. It would also work in HE's favour, as a GSJ at Longbarrow rbt leading to a D2 bypass through to Wylye would apply even more pressure on the Stonehenge S2 section. Similar to Hindhead and Newbury.

Does this mean that Countess GSJ is also canned? That should also be done as a separate job.
I agree with the village bypass and Countess GSJ being constructed while waiting for the tunnel to be agreed, ironically the new D2 bypass of the village will give two lanes for traffic to queue eastbound so shortening the queue until the tunnel is built.

The tunnel itself is extremely controversial, with regards to the expense (an easy target for government cutbacks), the urbanised look in a rural area (tunnel portals and steep retaining walls) and the fact it is being constructed through an ancient site. I will be amazed if it is ever completed.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Phil » Sat Jul 31, 2021 12:23

Norfolktolancashire wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 11:22

The tunnel itself is extremely controversial, with regards to the expense (an easy target for government cutbacks), the urbanised look in a rural area (tunnel portals and steep retaining walls) and the fact it is being constructed through an ancient site. I will be amazed if it is ever completed.
As has been noted before there simply is NO ALTERNATIVE to a tunnel under the site.

ALL surface construction is simply too damaging to the archaeology and World Heritage site to be permitted, so stop pretending there is a cheap and easy solution.

Its time to stop bitching about the cost and get on with it even if it doesn't pass the bureaucrats BCR tests. Stonehenge is a unique case in road building and as such worthy of an exception to usual accounting rules....

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Chris5156 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:01

RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 03:36
I could find online articles stating that the general public generally favoured an option similar to mine as far back as 1999 and so it doesn't make much sense why successive British governments have all favoured the tunnel option when it would probably be several times more expensive and would likely be more harmful to Stonehenge.
They favour it because public opinion from 20 years ago is not the only influence on the design of a scheme. In the case of Stonehenge, there are also archaeologists and experts in conservation who understand exactly what needs to be preserved and how best to go about it. They do not favour a surface route running anywhere nearby, and nor do the National Trust or English Heritage, both of whom could effectively veto the project if they disagree with the proposals. So a tunnel it is.
The A3 Hindhead tunnel is quite similar in many respects to how this tunnel would be when it comes to traffic levels, however in its case a tunnel is the only D2 option due to the steep terrain. Stonehenge and Amesbury by comparison are located on a relatively flat plain.
There's nothing so steep or difficult about the terrain at Hindhead that would prevent a D2 upgrade and a simple bypass of the village. It's far less steep and difficult than the A417 at the Air Balloon Roundabout, where the new dual carriageway is being proposed as a simple cutting with a climbing lane. The issue here - as at Stonehenge - is that the A3 passed through protected land that had to be avoided. In this case it was the Devil's Punchbowl, a site owned by the National Trust, who refused to agree to any form of road widening or new roads through the area. Consequently a tunnel was built under relatively undemanding terrain in order to get the road past the sensitive area. Even then, the old road has had to be completely removed from the landscape - despite being an ancient coaching route with history of its own - as a further concession to obtain the National Trust's agreement.

I suspect, from the line you drew for your proposal, that you are just trying to put a road further away from Stonehenge. Unfortunately the stones aren't the only thing there is to be protected. A new dual carriageway on the surface a mile south of them is no more viable or likely to happen than upgrading the A303 on line. You may regard the tunnel as a white elephant, but in decades of development work it's the only option that has proved itself even remotely likely to reach construction.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by DavidBrown » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:06

I just pray that the government and HE have the sense to press ahead with the rest of the A303/A358 dualling whilst they figure out how exactly to get out of this mess. Personally I've got so pessimistic about the whole thing now that I can't ever see anything being done about it, but even if Stonehenge remains the final S2 on the whole route for decades to come, having the rest of the route done will be so much better than what we have now.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by RJDG14 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:08

Chris5156 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:01
RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 03:36
I could find online articles stating that the general public generally favoured an option similar to mine as far back as 1999 and so it doesn't make much sense why successive British governments have all favoured the tunnel option when it would probably be several times more expensive and would likely be more harmful to Stonehenge.
They favour it because public opinion from 20 years ago is not the only influence on the design of a scheme. In the case of Stonehenge, there are also archaeologists and experts in conservation who understand exactly what needs to be preserved and how best to go about it. They do not favour a surface route running anywhere nearby, and nor do the National Trust or English Heritage, both of whom could effectively veto the project if they disagree with the proposals. So a tunnel it is.
The A3 Hindhead tunnel is quite similar in many respects to how this tunnel would be when it comes to traffic levels, however in its case a tunnel is the only D2 option due to the steep terrain. Stonehenge and Amesbury by comparison are located on a relatively flat plain.
There's nothing so steep or difficult about the terrain at Hindhead that would prevent a D2 upgrade and a simple bypass of the village. It's far less steep and difficult than the A417 at the Air Balloon Roundabout, where the new dual carriageway is being proposed as a simple cutting with a climbing lane. The issue here - as at Stonehenge - is that the A3 passed through protected land that had to be avoided. In this case it was the Devil's Punchbowl, a site owned by the National Trust, who refused to agree to any form of road widening or new roads through the area. Consequently a tunnel was built under relatively undemanding terrain in order to get the road past the sensitive area.

I suspect, from the line you drew for your proposal, that you don't fully understand what it is that makes Stonehenge and its surroundings worth protecting, or what there is to be protected. A new dual carriageway on the surface a mile south of the stones is no more viable or likely to happen than upgrading the A303 on line. You may regard the tunnel as a white elephant but in decades of development work it's the only option that has proved itself even remotely likely to reach construction.
I can't really imagine a tunnel being an option for the Air Balloon section of the A417 as it's effectively going from a high section to a low section with a descent of about 160 metres. In the case of the Hindhead tunnel it's going through a hill with relatively flat terrain on each side (I think; I've never been on this part of the A3).

I think it would be best for the government to colsult with UNESCO officials and show them all the potential options for upgrading the A303 around Stonehenge, and then UNESCO could pick out the acceptable options which the government could narrow the options down to. I definitely agree that this section of the A303 is a bottleneck which needs upgrading in some form, though. One of the alternative options was to build a southern bypass of Salisbury, which seems rather pointless since Salisbury already effectively has a bypass running through its centre which is perfectly adequate, however you could take the A303 along the line of the present A338 past Porton Down, effectively creating a southern bypass of Amesbury which dodges both the Stonehenge archaeological site and MOD Boscombe Down.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Chris5156 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:36

RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:08
Chris5156 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:01
There's nothing so steep or difficult about the terrain at Hindhead that would prevent a D2 upgrade and a simple bypass of the village. It's far less steep and difficult than the A417 at the Air Balloon Roundabout, where the new dual carriageway is being proposed as a simple cutting with a climbing lane. The issue here - as at Stonehenge - is that the A3 passed through protected land that had to be avoided. In this case it was the Devil's Punchbowl, a site owned by the National Trust, who refused to agree to any form of road widening or new roads through the area. Consequently a tunnel was built under relatively undemanding terrain in order to get the road past the sensitive area.
I can't really imagine a tunnel being an option for the Air Balloon section of the A417 as it's effectively going from a high section to a low section with a descent of about 160 metres. In the case of the Hindhead tunnel it's going through a hill with relatively flat terrain on each side (I think; I've never been on this part of the A3).
One of the options for the Air Balloon scheme was a tunnel. It was ruled out at consultation stage, but you can see a plan on SABRE here. A tunnel doesn't have to be a flat pipeline through high ground between two low-lying areas - it can also be a way to achieve a steady gradient on a long climb.

For what it's worth the Hindhead Tunnel isn't a hill with flat terrain on either side; it's in the midst of the Surrey Hills and the South Downs. To the north-east the A3 has a long climb up through Witley Common before the undulating section and another long climb to the A31 at Guildford, from where it drops steeply again. To the south-west the A3 has a sustained descent from Hindhead to Bramshott. It's not exactly the Alps, but the A3 rises and falls through hills all the way from Guildford to Waterlooville.
I think it would be best for the government to colsult with UNESCO officials and show them all the potential options for upgrading the A303 around Stonehenge, and then UNESCO could pick out the acceptable options which the government could narrow the options down to.
I'd be surprised if UNESCO weren't part of the many consultations carried out on this project already. However, UNESCO do not have the power of veto over it, while the National Trust do. NT want a tunnel.
One of the alternative options was to build a southern bypass of Salisbury, which seems rather pointless since Salisbury already effectively has a bypass running through its centre which is perfectly adequate
Try driving through Salisbury on the A36 and see if you still hold that opinion at the end! :wink:

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by firefly » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:50

SteveA30 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:20
Does this mean that Countess GSJ is also canned? That should also be done as a separate job.
But is it worth it? With the A 303 remaining 2-lanes wide in the Stonehenge section there is very little need to provide more capacities at the adjacent roundabouts.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by RJDG14 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:52

Chris5156 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:36
RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:08
Chris5156 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:01
There's nothing so steep or difficult about the terrain at Hindhead that would prevent a D2 upgrade and a simple bypass of the village. It's far less steep and difficult than the A417 at the Air Balloon Roundabout, where the new dual carriageway is being proposed as a simple cutting with a climbing lane. The issue here - as at Stonehenge - is that the A3 passed through protected land that had to be avoided. In this case it was the Devil's Punchbowl, a site owned by the National Trust, who refused to agree to any form of road widening or new roads through the area. Consequently a tunnel was built under relatively undemanding terrain in order to get the road past the sensitive area.
I can't really imagine a tunnel being an option for the Air Balloon section of the A417 as it's effectively going from a high section to a low section with a descent of about 160 metres. In the case of the Hindhead tunnel it's going through a hill with relatively flat terrain on each side (I think; I've never been on this part of the A3).
One of the options for the Air Balloon scheme was a tunnel. It was ruled out at consultation stage, but you can see a plan on SABRE here. A tunnel doesn't have to be a flat pipeline through high ground between two low-lying areas - it can also be a way to achieve a steady gradient on a long climb.

For what it's worth the Hindhead Tunnel isn't a hill with flat terrain on either side; it's in the midst of the Surrey Hills and the South Downs. To the north-east the A3 has a long climb up through Witley Common before the undulating section and another long climb to the A31 at Guildford, from where it drops steeply again. To the south-west the A3 has a sustained descent from Hindhead to Bramshott. It's not exactly the Alps, but the A3 rises and falls through hills all the way from Guildford to Waterlooville.
I think it would be best for the government to colsult with UNESCO officials and show them all the potential options for upgrading the A303 around Stonehenge, and then UNESCO could pick out the acceptable options which the government could narrow the options down to.
I'd be surprised if UNESCO weren't part of the many consultations carried out on this project already. However, UNESCO do not have the power of veto over it, while the National Trust do. NT want a tunnel.
One of the alternative options was to build a southern bypass of Salisbury, which seems rather pointless since Salisbury already effectively has a bypass running through its centre which is perfectly adequate
Try driving through Salisbury on the A36 and see if you still hold that opinion at the end! :wink:
I've always seen a viaduct as a potential option, but not a tunnel for the A417.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Herned » Sat Jul 31, 2021 17:33

RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:52
I've always seen a viaduct as a potential option, but not a tunnel for the A417.
A tunnel was definitely one of the discounted options for Air Balloon, I don't recall a viaduct ever being considered

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Pendlemac » Sat Jul 31, 2021 18:10

RJDG14 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:08
I can't really imagine a tunnel being an option for the Air Balloon section of the A417 as it's effectively going from a high section to a low section with a descent of about 160 metres.
Similar to the Amlatunnelen in Norway then? That drops 150m over 3km to reach a ferry terminal. The twist is that, to get the space for queueing vehicles, the right-hand lane of the tunnel ends up at the left hand end of the terminal when viewed from above the tunnel.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by jackal » Sat Jul 31, 2021 18:41

SteveA30 wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:20
The residents of Winterborne Stoke really need to pressurise the Gov and HE to separate their bypass from Stonehenge. It would also work in HE's favour, as a GSJ at Longbarrow rbt leading to a D2 bypass through to Wylye would apply even more pressure on the Stonehenge S2 section. Similar to Hindhead and Newbury.

Does this mean that Countess GSJ is also canned? That should also be done as a separate job.
To repeat, the scheme has not been cancelled. It was developed and consulted on in line with statutory processes, the DCO application was submitted, and reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate. There is no need to repeat any of that process. All that went wrong - and thus, all that needs to be repeated - is the Secretary of State's determination of the DCO. He might make a political decision not to proceed, but otherwise, he just needs to consider heritage factors and alternatives, and approve the DCO.

The situation is basically the same as the A38 Derby Junctions, which also had its DCO quashed. HE are progressing the scheme and expect to start construction in late 2022, subject to the SoS's redetermination: https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest ... 2-07-2021/ It is, as they put it, a 'live planning application'.

My best guess is that we will hear similar about Stonehenge over the next month or two. HE are raring to go, but just waiting for the SoS's decision: https://twitter.com/A303Stonehenge?ref_ ... r%5Eauthor

Stonehenge was planned to start in 2023-24 Q2. Even with a little slippage it is light years ahead of a standalone Winterborne Stoke bypass, which has not been developed, consulted on, or had a planning application submitted or reviewed. They would be starting from scratch, and what's the point when you're just making the bottleneck worse? Absolute non-starter compared to simply progressing the current scheme.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Glenn A » Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:25

DavidBrown wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:06
I just pray that the government and HE have the sense to press ahead with the rest of the A303/A358 dualling whilst they figure out how exactly to get out of this mess. Personally I've got so pessimistic about the whole thing now that I can't ever see anything being done about it, but even if Stonehenge remains the final S2 on the whole route for decades to come, having the rest of the route done will be so much better than what we have now.
I agree, Stonehenge is a sticking point. The tunnel would have been massively expensive and could have unsettled the stones, while a D2 would prove very unsightly and cause just as much anger from opponents. Leave the A303 as it is at Stonehenge and concentrate on improving the rest of the road.
The A303 unfortunately is the only practical route from Devon and Somerset to London as the M5/M4 option is a large detour and the A30 would be too difficult to improve and is non primary.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by owen b » Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:44

Glenn A wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:25
I agree, Stonehenge is a sticking point. The tunnel would have been massively expensive and could have unsettled the stones, while a D2 would prove very unsightly and cause just as much anger from opponents. Leave the A303 as it is at Stonehenge and concentrate on improving the rest of the road.
Apart from the benefit of some relief for the remaining unbypassed settlements (essentially Chicklade and Winterbourne Stoke), that essentially amounts to spending hundreds of millions of pounds to speed traffic to an existing bottleneck, resulting in yet worse congestion at Stonehenge.

They either need to do whatever it takes and fix the whole route including Stonehenge, finally providing a fit for purpose long distance strategic route, or give up on the A303 as a strategic route and just provide bare minimum relief at relatively low cost for settlements on the route and the safety blackspots.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Sun Aug 01, 2021 01:17

Glenn A wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:25
and could have unsettled the stones

How? Do you think the proposed tunnel is directly under the stones at a limited depth, or something?

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Hdeng16 » Sun Aug 01, 2021 08:11

Glenn A wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:25
DavidBrown wrote:
Sat Jul 31, 2021 13:06
I just pray that the government and HE have the sense to press ahead with the rest of the A303/A358 dualling whilst they figure out how exactly to get out of this mess. Personally I've got so pessimistic about the whole thing now that I can't ever see anything being done about it, but even if Stonehenge remains the final S2 on the whole route for decades to come, having the rest of the route done will be so much better than what we have now.
and could have unsettled the stones,
What on earth are you talking about?!

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