SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has restated his support for the planned large scale upgrade to the A303.

The £2.4 billion project includes a controversial 1.3-mile tunnel passing by the Stonehenge neolithic monument.

The plans are in the Department for Transport’s second Road Investment Strategy that will be rolled out between 2020 and 2025.

However, Dr Murrison is concerned about lack of clarity on timing for the subsequent completion of the A303 dual carriageway.

He fears that his constituents will be burdened with more traffic as the bottleneck at Stonehenge is uncorked.

Dr Murrison said: “On RIS2 I’m pleased to hear ground will be broken soon but we must start now on plans and finance for RIS3 otherwise my constituents will be severely disadvantaged, potentially for a very long time.

“Residents have raised concerns that communities such as Chicklade may shoulder the burden of increased traffic if construction is not sequenced properly.”

Last month roads minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton told Dr Murrison: "To allow a focus on the delivery of the Stonehenge Tunnel and to limit disruption to those who use the A303, the next phases of construction are likely to begin as the tunnel completes.

"This reflects the reality that improvements on the scale of those being delivered on this route need to be properly sequenced, both to ensure that the right solutions are developed for each location and to give road users, local residents and Highways England’s supply chain a manageable programme of works."

The minister says that Highways England will take care to consult MPs and local stakeholders as the RIS3 process develops.

Dr Murrison has written back to the minister to restate his concern that the Stonehenge stretch will be completed.

But he fears but there might then be a delay in the follow-on phase, perhaps as money runs out, which would mean gridlock relocated to Chicklade and rat-running continuing through villages close to the A303.