Stonehenge - summer solstice celebrations / winter solstice / equinox dawn gatherings & other issues

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  1. According to industry standards the lifespan of major engineering projects tunnels and bridges and tunnels is 120 years. Please see reference from the below report;

    'On an international basis, British Standards have required a minimum service life design of 120 years since 1988. This requirement has also been implemented in other parts of the world where British Standards are used. For purposes of this discussion, the service life period will be considered to be the time period to be achieved “with proper maintenance but without any major repair work.” This would preclude, for example, complete removal and replacement of the bridge deck (or tunnel lining).'

    The tunnel at Stonehenge would be built to these standards i.e. the main bores would only be 'guaranteed' until approximately the year 2040 when major reconstruction work would be required. 120 years is only a blip in the Stonehenge story, but one which could leave an indelible mark across the landscape. Surely we can think of something better?

    i.e a P&R at Solstice Park and a parallel bridleway/service road to the south and introduction of average speed cameras on the existing A303!

  2. The principle aim of upgrading the A303 past Stonehenge is to improve capacity, alleviate peak time congestion and help the economy. In many ways this is a laudable aim as far as south-west business leaders and local residents are concerned. The current 2.9km tunnel plan however, involves creating two massive tunnel approach cuttings which would sever the lost line of the ancient avenue (near Amesbury) to the east and blur the sight of the midwinter sunset to the west. In addition to this - two surface sections of dual carriageway, lighting columns, cabling, piling, electrical services would be all added to the landscape which you would think would be sacrosanct?

    I believe English Heritage (EH) & the National Trust (NT) have been hoodwinked by Highways England & the UK Gov. into accepting a 2.9km tunnel, the detailed plan of which will be made clearer in 2017. What EH & the NT have not done is develop a workable alternative of their own, such as developing a new combined visitor and P&R facility at Solstice Park. Such a plan would work in conjunction with a connecting shuttle bus service and a parallel service road cum bridleway to the south of the A303. Visitors would then have option to approach the stones via the remaining upper end of the avenue, as originally intended. The new service road (bridleway) could also be used to separate out slow farm/maintenance traffic from the main carriageway which would be fitted with average speed cameras. Unlike the current plans, none of these ideas would irrevocably damage the landscape. They are achievable, cost effective and unlike the tunnel, they could be taken away at a later date, if deemed unsuitable.