Agenda item

National Highways A360 Closure

To receive a presentation from National Highways about the closure of the A360 for a prolonged period as part of the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel Project.


Alan Harris and Ken Marshall from National Highways gave an update about the impact of the road closure of the A360 between Longbarrow roundabout and The Avenue roundabout between mid-April and mid-July 2024. They explained that the closure of the road would allow Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to install high voltage cables ahead of construction works on the A303 Stonehenge project. As part of the A303 upgrade the road would be buried as it passed through the world heritage site and the improved high voltage cables would be used on a temporary basis to power the tunnel boring machines. The officers noted that a number of other preliminary works were being undertaken prior to the commencement of the main works for the project in April 2025, including ecological works at Parsonage Down in the summer of 2024. The officers reassured the public that the A360 would remain open for local businesses and residents to cross. The main diversion route would be along the A345 and A36. A number of temporary weight limits were also being introduced on local roads to ensure that heavy goods vehicles were not directed along inappropriate routes.


During the discussion, points included:


·       The Area Board thanked the officers for their update.

·       26,000 vehicles travelled past Stonehenge on the A303 each day, one every three and a half seconds. Traffic was expected to increase by a quarter over the next 20 years. The existing surface road through the world heritage site would be removed and replaced with wild grassland.

·       The works starting in April would not be subject to the conclusion of the legal proceedings submitted to the High Court by Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The timing of the work was dictated by a number of factors including the availability of resources from SSEN and the desire to avoid disruption during the school holidays over Christmas and August.

·       Cllr Church raised concerns about diverted traffic along The Avenue and then onto the A36 passing under a low bridge in Wilton, which was one of the top 10 bridges most hit by vehicles in the country. The officers stated that they would pass on feedback regarding early warning signs being installed before the closure of the A360.

·       In response to a query from Jeremy Broad from Steeple Langford Parish Council about the back road from Wylye becoming logjammed if there was extra traffic on the A36, the officers noted that they would take onboard feedback from residents and monitor road use closely to minimise the use of smaller roads as ‘rat-runs’.

·       An operations room would be run for the duration of the A360 closure and correspondence channels would be kept open with the public.

·       It was confirmed that work would be taking place 24 hours a day to ensure that the A360 was closed for as short a time as possible. Emergency services had been consulted with.

·       Details were sought on why one lane of the A360 could not be kept open whilst the cables were installed under the other lane. It was explained that a series of trials had been undertaken to judge whether it would be feasible to keep the road open during the works. However, after consultation with Wiltshire Council, it was deemed that it would not be safe to keep one lane open.

·       A member of the public working in the travel and tourism industry raised concerns about the impact of the closure of the A360 deterring passengers from cruise ships in Southampton. It was clarified that it had not been possible to commence the works during the winter months of 2023/24 as they were still waiting on the outcome of the legal challenge. If the judicial review, the outcome of which was announced on 19 February 2024, had gone against the A303 project then works would have had to have been aborted on the A360.

·       It was clarified that it would not have been possible to run the cables in the fields adjacent to the road as it had not been possible to obtain consent for the works from all of the relevant landowners. Dialogue would be ongoing with landowners throughout the project.

·       When concerns were raised that traffic from the A303 would be diverted through Solstice Park, it was confirmed that works on the central road barrier near Solstice Park would commence in the winter of 2025. The intention was to run traffic, not through the park but along the Allington track.

·       Between 7,000 and 9,000 vehicles used the A360 each day.

·       Current projections were that the full A303 project would be completed by 2031 and cost approximately £1.7 billion.

·       Peter Binley, Head of Major Highway Projects at Wiltshire Council, reiterated that unfortunately it would not be possible to carry out the installation of cables under the A360 safely whilst keeping a lane open. He recognised the frustration of local residents and reassured them that the A360 closure was the best way of minimising disruption whilst delivering the project.



It was noted that further public consultation events would be held at:


·       Saturday 9 March, South Newton and Wishford Village Hall, Stoford, Salisbury, SP2 0PJ between 10am and 4pm 

·       Monday 11 March, Shrewton Village Hall, Recreation Ground, The Hollow, Shrewton, SP3 4JY between 11am and 4pm 

·       Tuesday 12 March, Durrington Village Hall, High Street Durrington, SP4 8AD between 11am and 6pm 

·       Friday 15 March, Antrobus House, Edmund Hall, 39 Salisbury Road, Amesbury, SP4 7HH between 11am and 7pm 

Supporting documents: