Controversial Stonehenge Tunnel Moves Forward

New plans for the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire announced by the Department for Transport include burying the A303 in a 1.8mile dual carriageway tunnel

Heritage groups that manage the landmark have welcomed the tunnel - and believe it will make the standing stones more tranquil, benefit the environment, and improve the public's access to the site.

The British government has funneled about $2.4 billion into the tunnel.

Helen Ghosh, director general, said in a statement: "I know there will be some sadness that people will no longer be able to see the stones from the road, but visitors will once again be able to hear the sounds of skylarks singing rather than the constant noise of traffic".

Stonehenge, one of the UKs most iconic tourist spots, is to get a 3-km-long tunnel that will help in cutting traffic congestion and improving journey time to the World Heritage site.

A consultation will run until March 5, with the preferred route revealed this year.

However, some campaigners have expressed concern that the roadbuilding project could irreparably damage the prehistoric monument. "It will also boost the economy, linking people with jobs, and businesses with customers - driving forward our agenda to build a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few".

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Highways England's Jim O'Sullivan said: "Our plans for the A303 recognise the national importance of the route and these improvements will bring real benefit to the region and local communities".

But historians and history buffs are already rallying against the proposed roadway, suggesting the construction could damage archaeological sites surrounding the World Heritage site.

Chairman of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, Andy Rhind-Tutt, even went as far as calling the tunnel plan a "self-destructing time bomb".

They're nearly certainly going to dig a tunnel right under Stonehenge, and then, to further infuriate the ancient sun and star gods, it'll be filled with cars going to second homes in Devon and Cornwall.

UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites recently filed a mission report supporting the listed benefits of the tunnel.

The Department of Transport has pledged to protect sites of significance and consult on the plans as they progress. The fact is stones at the Stonehenge site are delicately placed and any movement of the ground can cause collapse of the lintelled slabs.

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