The search to find potential contractors for upgrade work on the A303 in Wiltshire has begun.
Highways England is looking for organisations to help make its £1.7 billion project between Amesbury and Berwick Down a reality.
The plans, which have been met with some opposition, include a two mile long tunnel underneath Stonehenge.
The proposed upgrade of the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down includes:
- Eight miles of free-flowing, high-quality dual carriageway
- A tunnel at least two miles long underneath the World Heritage Site, closely following the existing A303 route, but a further 50 metres away from the Stonehenge monument, avoiding important archaeological sites, and avoiding intrusion on the view of the setting sun from the stones during the winter solstice
- A new bypass to the north of the village of Winterbourne Stoke
- Junctions with the A345 and A360 either side of the World Heritage Site
Highways England Project Director Derek Parody said:
"We expect this scheme to be of interest to some of the world’s best construction companies, who want to be part of delivering this transformational project – a scheme which will not only unlock congestion along this vital A303 route, conserve and enhance the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site but also benefit the local and regional economy by providing skills and job opportunities for businesses large and small.
"This in no way pre-empts the outcome of the ongoing Development Consent Order Examination. While this continues to progress, we need to begin the procurement to put us in a position to be able to start construction on schedule in 2021, providing consent is given.
"The start of the procurement process demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to this scheme and an expectation that progress on it continues as planned."