In response to John’s inquiry about the Highways England admission that the images in their consultation materials of viaduct heights were purely illustrative and subject to modification, depending on feedback from local communities. I append an e-mail I received from Highways England highlighting the opportunities for mitigation of the northern route profile as follows:
Dear Mr Dutton,
Thank you for your email of 31 January in which you ask a number of questions relating to our A303 Stonehenge proposals.
1. As a very broad figure, and subject to tunnel details and method of boring that has yet to be determined, the volume of material excavated could be in the order of 1 million cubic metres.
2. We cannot say yet what proportion of the excavated material from the tunnel will be used in embankment construction. That will be dependent on the vertical alignment for the scheme which has yet to be determined whether the route passes north or south of Winterbourne Stoke.
3. The heights of embankments and viaducts are only illustrative for this stage of route selection – the optimum heights will be determined as part of the continuing development of the scheme following the choice of preferred route.
4. The costs of disposing tunnel spoil will be explored in due course, in relation to a better understanding of how much material may have to be disposed of following the determination of an optimum vertical alignment in accompaniment with any ground shaping that may accompany the scheme to blend it into the landscape and provide noise screening.
5. As mentioned above, we will be reviewing the Winterbourne Stoke bypass embankment and viaduct heights as part of the continuing development of the scheme following the choice of route.
I realise that this does not provide precise answers to your questions, but we are not at the stage in the development of the scheme that enables us to give precise answers. That will come with the ongoing development and design following the choice of preferred route, which we expect later in 2017.
For now we would like to understand any concerns and issues you have that you would like to be taken into consideration in the decision-making and would welcome your response to our consultation that expresses these. Feedback can be given via our online feedback form, which can be found at: http://www.highways.gov.uk/a303stonehenge/consultation.
Feedback forms can be submitted up until 11.59pm on 5 March 2017, after which this consultation will be closed. We hope that this will give you plenty of time to consider our plans.
A303 Stonehenge Correspondence Officer
Complex Infrastructure Programme