Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

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Micro The Maniac
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Micro The Maniac » Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:45

Peter350 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 08:28
A random idea but could introducing a minimum speed limit of 50mph between the Countess and Longbarrow roundabouts be a workable idea in the short term? It would ensure traffic kept flowing by discouraging slowing down past the stones, and could be enforced with speed cameras.
I'm not convinced that the claimed tourists slowing down makes much of an impact - every time I've driven past, the queue starts well before the Stones, and stretches well beyond the Stones - usually to where the road widens to D2 eastbound, and at least to Longbarrow westbound.

The constraint is that a busy D2 is squeezed into an S2 past the Stones

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:04

Peter350 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 09:40
The idea of the minimum speed limit is to prevent drivers from looking at the stones, and I don’t agree with planting a hedge as it will just detriment the beauty of the natural landscape. What you could do instead is take a leaf from smart motorways and have a maximum speed limit of 50mph from just before the Countess roundabout westbound. Logic dictates that a more steady flow of traffic causes less congestion, so by setting the speed limit, you eliminate the constant stopping and starting which causes these so-called ‘traffic snakes’ just before the end of the Amesbury dual section.
I find the concept that a hedgerow is detrimental to the natural landscape while seeing 4 lanes of fast moving traffic is not rather paradoxical. As I recall there are quite a lot of isolated sections of hedges along there and many others were removed to improve views from the Stonehenge site. This of course works both ways. The logical answer to that conundrum is to either move the road or put it underground. Given that there are relatively few other places to move to a shortish tunnel would seem to be the obvious solution.

A route to the North of Salisbury has been suggested but this has problems all of its own as it would have to between of the airfield at Boscombe Down and the MOD complex at Porton Down and inevitably end up close enough to Old Sarum to bring with lots of other objections. The cost would of course also be higher.

As an addendum there is an interesting image here that shows how the area was cleaned up and the views opened between 1928 and the present day, not to mention the repositioned fallen stones.
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/vis ... aerodrome/

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by BF2142 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:09

We have institutionalised nostalgia through the legal system and all levels of government. This country's obsession with the past is becoming a real problem now.

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Bryn666
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:31

BF2142 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:09
We have institutionalised nostalgia through the legal system and all levels of government. This country's obsession with the past is becoming a real problem now.
I'd agree with you if we were talking about a derelict building like this monstrosity in Blackburn that people claimed needed preserving (but no one wanted to pay for) when we completed the A6078: https://goo.gl/maps/CuBC6zH8wpjxpWxL9 but we are talking about Stonehenge here.

A country that is happy to desecrate a site like this so drivers can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker is not a forwards thinking country.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Jim606 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:36

BF2142 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:09
We have institutionalised nostalgia through the legal system and all levels of government. This country's obsession with the past is becoming a real problem now.
The ruling, as pointed out earlier, was about about Grant Shapps decision and whether it followed the correct procedures. If the scheme is resubmitted then there will need to be some amendments in regards to the western approach cutting. This isn't a bad thing, as it should hopefully result in a better scheme.
Last edited by Jim606 on Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:43

BF2142 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:09
We have institutionalised nostalgia through the legal system and all levels of government. This country's obsession with the past is becoming a real problem now.
Even though I am a history buff AND a long standing National Trust member I tend to agree. The most ludicrous proposal I heard in recent years was to preserve the blast furnace on the disused Redcar Ssteelworks site. The darned thing is only 50 years old and is now little more than a dangerous pile of toxic waste on a site earmarked for use as a large new facility to be built by the Anglo American for the Woodsmith Mine to ship polyhalite fertiliser which will produce 1400 jobs in an area of high unemployment.


It replaced the old Warrenby Steel works and I dont recall any campaigning to preserve that in the 1970's

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:58

KeithW wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:43
BF2142 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:09
We have institutionalised nostalgia through the legal system and all levels of government. This country's obsession with the past is becoming a real problem now.
Even though I am a history buff AND a long standing National Trust member I tend to agree. The most ludicrous proposal I heard in recent years was to preserve the blast furnace on the disused Redcar Ssteelworks site. The darned thing is only 50 years old and is now little more than a dangerous pile of toxic waste on a site earmarked for use as a large new facility to be built by the Anglo American for the Woodsmith Mine to ship polyhalite fertiliser which will produce 1400 jobs in an area of high unemployment.


It replaced the old Warrenby Steel works and I dont recall any campaigning to preserve that in the 1970's
Sounds like someone's heard of Gasworks Park in Seattle and wants to copy it... I think I'd rather have the 1400 jobs.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Herned » Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:41

Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:31
A country that is happy to desecrate a site like this so drivers can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker is not a forwards thinking country.
On the other hand, the country was/is prepared to spend at least £1,000,000,000 digging a completely unnecessary tunnel, from a civil engineering point of view. Personally I think the plan is broadly the right balance between protecting the heritage landscape and cost

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:46

Herned wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:41
Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:31
A country that is happy to desecrate a site like this so drivers can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker is not a forwards thinking country.
On the other hand, the country was/is prepared to spend at least £1,000,000,000 digging a completely unnecessary tunnel, from a civil engineering point of view. Personally I think the plan is broadly the right balance between protecting the heritage landscape and cost
Who defines necessary?
Bryn
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Peter Freeman » Mon Aug 02, 2021 14:44

I've refrained from posting on this topic for a long time, but what the hell.

I think the tunnel is an extravagant waste of money, in a country that seems to struggle to find millions (not billions) to build road infrastructure that's taken for granted in most 1st-world counties. A D2 diversion of the road just a fairly short distance away would surely be more sensible. I haven't re-read through the thread to remind myself of all the bypass options, and arguments against, but I'm sure at least one of them would be economically good value, and functionally acceptable.

Now, I'm no Philistine! I've visited Stonehenge and Avebury and other ancient sites thereabouts multiple times, and I adore them. I'm also a history, pre-history, archeology and palaeontology buff, and I treasure the English countryside. I also appreciate that there is more to this debate than just Stonehenge. But, as in most civil engineering projects now, archeology will be a major precursor, and it will actually bring forward valuable research and new discoveries.

Regarding aesthetics, whether a tunnel or surface road, in my view ancient and high-quality-modern can be made to harmonise well.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Herned » Mon Aug 02, 2021 14:47

Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:46
Who defines necessary?
There is no civil engineering/geographical reason to dig a tunnel in that location. The only reason a tunnel has been proposed is to preserve the WHS. But I'm sure you know that anyway

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:01

Herned wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 14:47
Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:46
Who defines necessary?
There is no civil engineering/geographical reason to dig a tunnel in that location. The only reason a tunnel has been proposed is to preserve the WHS. But I'm sure you know that anyway
Yes, it's basically a necessary condition to preserve the status of the site as a UNESCO WHS. We've just lost one last month because of "who gives a stuff" developers building utter crap next to one, and we seem content to do the same again.

One was so people could watch football, this is so Londoners can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker. Our priorities towards assets of significance are utterly and completely wrong.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by jackal » Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:09

Peter Freeman wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 14:44
I've refrained from posting on this topic for a long time, but what the hell.

I think the tunnel is an extravagant waste of money, in a country that seems to struggle to find millions (not billions) to build road infrastructure that's taken for granted in most 1st-world counties. A D2 diversion of the road just a fairly short distance away would surely be more sensible. I haven't re-read through the thread to remind myself of all the bypass options, and arguments against, but I'm sure at least one of them would be economically good value, and functionally acceptable.

Now, I'm no Philistine! I've visited Stonehenge and Avebury and other ancient sites thereabouts multiple times, and I adore them. I'm also a history, pre-history, archeology and palaeontology buff, and I treasure the English countryside. I also appreciate that there is more to this debate than just Stonehenge. But, as in most civil engineering projects now, archeology will be a major precursor, and it will actually bring forward valuable research and new discoveries.

Regarding aesthetics, whether a tunnel or surface road, in my view ancient and high-quality-modern can be made to harmonise well.
I agree with you that, in a sense, £1.7bn is completely disproportionate to the transport benefit. But the flipside is that there are people like Bryn who are not averse to strategic road improvements in general, but still think the tunnel is inadequate given the site. So on the whole the fact that no one's really happy with it is probably a sign that it's a reasonable compromise between competing and irreconcilable interests.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Herned » Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:21

Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:01
One was so people could watch football, this is so Londoners can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker. Our priorities towards assets of significance are utterly and completely wrong.
So it is no benefit to anyone but Londoners? As a resident of Somerset I can assure you that improving the A303 is pretty popular down here, supported by the councils and consultations etc. Do people here not count?

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:40

Herned wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:21
Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 15:01
One was so people could watch football, this is so Londoners can get to Cornwall 3 minutes quicker. Our priorities towards assets of significance are utterly and completely wrong.
So it is no benefit to anyone but Londoners? As a resident of Somerset I can assure you that improving the A303 is pretty popular down here, supported by the councils and consultations etc. Do people here not count?
If all that matters to people in Somerset is cutting 3 minutes off journey times then I can't help you there. There is more at stake here, this project will single handed kill off any ideas of road construction in the UK ever again if it goes ahead in a form that causes Stonehenge to lose its WHS status. It will destroy what little credibility HE have left, it will see the UK government taken to court over every single plan it ever makes.

Worth it for 3 minutes off a journey that has actually very little national benefit other than for holiday makers using a very narrow corridor? I think not.

I see SABRE has learned absolutely zilch from the effects of both Twyford Down and Newbury being designed badly and on the cheap.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Peter Freeman » Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:06

What has UNESCO actually 'threatened' ? Would WHS status really be withdrawn, under any of the options?

If a longer tunnel, advocated by some, was provided, invisible from the stones, with archeology performed, and the current road alignment grassed to invisibility, with archeology performed, would that be OK?

If a standard HQDC was built on a bypass alignment, invisible from the stones, with archeology performed, and the current road alignment grassed to invisibility, with archeology performed, would that be OK?

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:22

I would not expect UNESCO to 'threaten' anything. However they have said this.
The presence of busy main roads going through the World Heritage property impacts adversely on its integrity. The roads sever the relationship between Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments, notably the A344 which separates the Stone Circle from the Avenue. At Avebury, roads cut through some key monuments including the Henge and the West Kennet Avenue. The A4 separates the Sanctuary from its barrow group at Overton Hill. Roads and vehicles also cause damage to the fabric of some monuments while traffic noise and visual intrusion have a negative impact on their settings. The incremental impact of highway-related clutter needs to be carefully managed.

Development pressures are present and require careful management. Impacts from existing intrusive development should be mitigated where possible.
The result was the closure of the A344. The implication that dualling the A303 on the surface is unacceptable is clear. The WHS is very large you would have to go several miles south to avoid it.
Last edited by KeithW on Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:25

Peter Freeman wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:06
What has UNESCO actually 'threatened' ? Would WHS status really be withdrawn, under any of the options?

If a longer tunnel, advocated by some, was provided, invisible from the stones, with archeology performed, and the current road alignment grassed to invisibility, with archeology performed, would that be OK?

If a standard HQDC was built on a bypass alignment, invisible from the stones, with archeology performed, and the current road alignment grassed to invisibility, with archeology performed, would that be OK?
Liverpool has just last month lost its WHS status for the waterfront because of poor quality development undermining the heritage aspect. UNESCO can and will threaten to remove the status from Stonehenge if HE and the DfT put through a half-cocked road scheme in the middle of it.
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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by Peter Freeman » Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:27

Closure of the A344 was a pretty minimal action. That satisfied UNESCO ?!

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Re: Stonehenge - The bored tunnel option

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:39

Peter Freeman wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 16:27
Closure of the A344 was a pretty minimal action. That satisfied UNESCO ?!
It satisfied one aspect of the issue, the main aspect of busy roads (the A303) bisecting the WHS remains and surface dualling past the Stones would clearly not be acceptable.

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