Public cash has to ‘entirely fund’ £1.7b Stonehenge Tunnel, says Highways England boss
One of the country’s top roads bosses claims that public cash will have to “entirely fund” the £1.7billion Stonehenge Tunnel, as there “is not enough time left” for any other option.
The comments were made during the New Civil Engineer’s Future of Roads Conference by Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan.
As reported in the New Civil Engineer he said: “Is there an alternative funding model in the pipeline? Yes – the government has to fund it.
“It has to be government funded because in truth there is not enough time left for the A303 to be funded any other way than with public money.”
However, Mr O’Sullivan did say that if this funding decision isn’t made, the government may create a new plan to a new timeline.
“The government has to make a decision,” he added.
“If the government doesn’t fund it, we will have to re-plan the scheme, the idea of it being cancelled is slim.”
Nevertheless, this claim was rejected by a Department for Transport spokesperson.
They said: “This government is committed to investing in the South West and the A303 and A358 schemes are on track to be delivered to their respective timetables.
“Development work is continuing as planned.”
It comes almost a week after a report from the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts said that the scheme is “now at the mercy of the much-awaited Spending Review”.
The report added: “It will be extremely challenging to deliver the South West road improvements to cost and time.”
This was despite the government claiming it had now found a scheme that was affordable, deliverable, and had the support of heritage and environment bodies.