Highways England has confirmed its commitment to progressing the construction contracts process for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade past Stonehenge.
Following a High Court ruling against Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ granting of a Development Consent Order for the transformational scheme, plans for early works and archaeological fieldwork have now been paused.
However, the company will be working to advance the procurement process in the coming months.
Three bids have now been submitted for the tunnel and main works contract and the preferred bidder is expected to be announced in early 2022.
Meanwhile, Highways England is also procuring a Delivery Assurance Partner to support in managing the delivery of the A303 Stonehenge main works contract. It is anticipated that the £60 million contract will be awarded late this year.
David Bullock, Highways England’s Project Manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said, “We have to wait while the Department for Transport considers its options, and in the meantime, we are continuing with the process to appoint a contractor for the main works phase of the scheme.
“We have now paused our plans to carry out early, preparatory work, but the procurement process is very much live, to ensure we maintain programme timescales as best as possible.
“We still believe our project is the best solution to the ongoing issues along the A303 past Stonehenge, it has been developed after a long and extensive collaboration with our key stakeholders, and we are still very much motivated to leave a legacy beyond the road – for Stonehenge, the World Heritage Site, our local communities and future generations.”
Archaeological fieldwork and preliminary works had been scheduled to start later this summer, while a temporary, three-month closure of the A360 to enable utilities work – earmarked to start in September – has also been postponed.
David added, “In terms of our initial work, we plan to update local communities via a virtual public information event when we know a little more, and in the interim we are continuing to communicate our plans with all stakeholders and interested parties.”
For the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme, further updates will be available on social media and on the scheme website, and for any further queries, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org