English Heritage
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Department of Transport Approves A344 Stopping Up Order

The long-awaited transformation of the Stonehenge landscape moved a step closer recently as the Government agreed sections of two roads running near the stones can be closed to traffic.

Following a public inquiry, an independent inspector recommended an 879 metre length of the Wiltshire Council controlled A344 from its junction with the A303 and a 263 metre stretch of the B3086 from its junction with the A344 can be closed.
Roads Minister Mike Penning today confirmed he was in agreement with the recommendation. 

He said: "I fully recognise the importance of preserving this iconic heritage site and am delighted to accept the inspector's recommendations and help the English Heritage proposed improvements take an important step forward. 

"Subject to successful completion of remaining statutory processes and confirmed go-ahead of the Stonehenge improvements, I have agreed that funding of around £3.5 million will be made available for improvements to Highways Agency roads close to Stonehenge. 

"This will see the A303 closed at its junction with the A344 and increased capacity delivered on the A360/A303 at Longbarrow Crossroads - reducing traffic travelling directly past the stones and helping ease congestion around Stonehenge, including for those travelling to the new visitors' centre. This is an important contribution to improve the setting of the monument and ensure its preservation as an iconic World Heritage Site."

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Project Director at English Heritage, said: "We are delighted with the Department for Transport's decision to authorise the two Stopping Up Orders which are necessary in order to enable the Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project to proceed. As a result of today's decision, part of the A344 which passes the Stonehenge monument will be stopped up - after the Highways Agency carry out their planned improvements to Longbarrow roundabout in 2012/13.

"The stopping-up of this section of the A344 will not only enhance the setting of Stonehenge within the World Heritage Site landscape, but will fulfil the undertaking given by the UK Government to UNESCO in 1986 to remove the A344 at this point. It will significantly improve the experience of visitors to the Stonehenge monument, facilitate greater access to the wider World Heritage Site landscape and enable the relocation of visitor facilities to Airman's Corner. Here a section of the B3086 will be stopped up and a new roundabout built to replace the existing staggered crossroads.

" We look forward to a positive decision regarding the Traffic Regulation Order relating to the restriction of traffic on the remainder of the A344 , on which the visitor transit system will run,  and a number of byways. This order was subject to a separate inquiry and the decision will be taken by Wiltshire Council.


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