I had a nice email the other day from Derek Parody, the Project Director (A303 Stonehenge), assuring me that he had read my comments about the Stonehenge tunnel, and was going ahead. It read:
Thank you for your response to our public consultation earlier this year. We have now analysed all of the over 9,000 responses we received and we would like to let you know that the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced the preferred route which will be taken forward. This marks a major step forward in the plan to improve this section of road which has suffered congestion for so long.
The consultation responses, along with further studies and assessments, have influenced the route announced today. The route includes a twin-bored tunnel at least 1.8 miles long through the World Heritage Site and improved junctions with the A360 and the A345. It also includes a northern route for the long-awaited Winterbourne Stoke bypass. We will now continue to develop the scheme in more detail and there will be a further public consultation early next year before the more detailed plans are submitted for development consent.
You can read much more information on our website where you will find our Moving Forward: the preferred route booklet, the full Report on Public Consultation and the Scheme Assessment Report.
I know all the arguments against the idea of a tunnel: all that unstable chalk, and the runes yet to be discovered and read, but overall I value the idea of a landscape with no A303. It is a great pity, however, that the tunnel's not going to be longer – at both ends.
As all this will cost at least £1.6bn, it's hard to disagree with Lew Grade when he said that it would surely be cheaper to move the stones.