DRIVERS on the A303 are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys ahead of the next phase of investigation work.

The works will affect the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme around the Countess roundabout.

Geotechnical surveys, to inform Highways England’s procurement process for the £1.7 billion road tunnel past Stonehenge, have been taking place around the World Heritage Site since June.

Following drainage and sewerage surveys earlier this month, a further six weeks of work will be taking place on and around the A303 Countess roundabout from Monday, November 4.

Following initial vegetation clearance, the work will involve the drilling of boreholes and digging of trial pits.

With lane closures in place for safety reasons, drivers are advised to expect some delays to their journeys.

Countess roundabout will be reduced to a single lane – Monday to Friday only – until December 16, with the eastbound and westbound approaches and exit roads also reduced to single lanes.

David Bullock, Highways England Project Manager, said: “While this essential work continues around Countess Roundabout, we’d like to thank local communities and road users in advance for their patience.

“The survey work in no way pre-empts the outcome of the Development Consent Order Examination, which concluded earlier this month.

“The ground investigations are taking place to help bidders with their tenders, to ensure there is no delay to the programme and put us in a position to be able to start construction on schedule in 2021, providing consent is given.”

During the work around Countess Roundabout, road surface surveys are also being undertaken at Solstice Park, for four nights a week from November 11, and Winterbourne Stoke, between November 18-22.

The latter work will see the eastbound carriageway closed overnight between 8pm and 6am with temporary traffic lights in place.

For anyone wanting more details of the survey work, Highways England will hold a pop-up information stand at the Tesco Superstore in Amesbury on November 14 (10am-4pm), where people will be able to meet project team members.

For those unable to attend, details of the ground investigation work can be found at

Highways England’s proposed upgrade of the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down aims to unlock congestion along this vital route.

The goal is to conserve and enhance the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Site, benefit the local and regional economy and tackle the rat-running issue for local communities.

The £1.7 billion improvement scheme includes:

• 8 miles of free-flowing, high-quality dual carriageway

• a tunnel at least two miles long underneath the World Heritage Site, closely following the existing A303 route, but a further 50 metres away from the Stonehenge monument, avoiding important archaeological sites, and avoiding intrusion on the view of the setting sun from the stones during the winter solstice

• a new bypass to the north of the village of Winterbourne Stoke

• junctions with the A345 and A360 either side of the World Heritage Site

A contract notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union in July to trigger the beginning of the process to find a world-class contractor for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme, and since then the six-month DCO Examination process concluded on October 2.

The examining authority will now review the DCO application and they have three months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who is expected to make a decision in spring 2020.