LONDON (AP)-The British government opposed the proposal of planning officials on Thursday and approved a controversial plan to build a road tunnel near the prehistoric monument at Stonehenge in southern England.
The project aims to ease traffic along the road that is prone to deadlock. The project has been touted for decades, but has met with strong opposition from local residents and archaeologists.
The A303 motorway is a popular route for motorists to travel to and from the southwest of England, and the cycling road section near Stonehenge is often heavily congested. As part of the extensive improvement, a two-mile tunnel will be constructed that will effectively eliminate sight and sound of traffic passing through the site and shorten travel time.
The decision of the Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps violated the recommendations of the Planning Inspectorate, which warned that the “permanent”
However, according to the Department of Transportation, Sharps said “it is satisfied that, in general, the need for development and other identified benefits outweigh any harm.”
Proponents of this upgrade say it will greatly alleviate traffic congestion and ultimately improve the local environment. The British Roads Agency estimates that it will cost £1.7 billion (US$2.2 billion). The agency expects that field investigations will begin in the late spring of next year, and the main five-year construction phase is expected to begin in 2023.
The agency’s chief executive officer, Jim O’Sullivan, said: “This transformation plan will restore the Stonehenge landscape to its original settings and improve travel time for everyone to and from the southwest.”
Opponents of the plan have six weeks to appeal to the British High Court. For many years, people have expressed concern about possible damage to the environment, wildlife and potential underground archaeological discoveries.
The Stonehenge Alliance, which opposes the tunnel movement, said that it “deeply regrets” this decision will be welcomed by the world in “shock.”
The organization added that the plan would violate Britain’s international treaty obligations to “not damage” the world heritage.
The chairman of the Stonehenge Alliance, historian, writer and broadcaster Tom Holland said the organization would strongly oppose this “shameful” decision.
He said: “The decision to inject a large amount of tarmac and concrete into Britain’s most precious prehistoric landscape is a decision to be thrifty and dedicated at the same time.”
In June, a group of archaeologists discovered that there were at least 20 rings of large shafts in the site, not far from the standing stones, and therefore expressed hope that the project would not be approved.
In a statement, the National Trust, which is responsible for 2,100 acres of land around Stonehenge, stated that it has “long-term ambitions” to resolve issues related to A303, and “it will now take some time to study the review agency’s conclusions.” , And then make a further response. “
Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. It was built 5,000 years ago and was built in stages on the flat land of Salisbury Plain. The unique stone circle was built in the late Neolithic period, about 2500 BC year.
The meaning of the site has been the subject of intense debate for centuries, some of which seem to be more weird than others.
English Heritage, a charity with hundreds of historical sites, has offered several explanations over the centuries, such as Stonehenge as the coronation site of the Danish king, Druid temples, recuperation centers, and even predictions Astronomical computer for solar eclipses and solar events.
Today, the charity says, “The most commonly accepted explanation is a prehistoric temple consistent with the sun’s movement.”
Regardless of the design, Stonehenge has always attracted the imagination of the British public and remains one of the largest tourist attractions in the UK. This is especially true during the summer solstice and winter.There will be no winter solstice at Stonehenge due to the coronavirus pandemic This year, but the sunrise on the morning of December 21 will be broadcast live.