SALISBURY , England, April 29 (UPI) -- A traffic-carrying tunnel under Stonehenge, England’s World Heritage monument, is under consideration by the British government.
A feasibility study has been commissioned to examine how traffic congestion, notably tourists coming to the see the standing stones believed to date from 2400 B.C., can be eased into the area. It will bring back portions of a 2007 proposal calling for a 1.3 mile tunnel to be bored under the monument. The controversial idea cost 540 million pounds ($908.59 million) at the time.
Final proposals, including the widening of existing roads in the area near the city of Salisbury, will be presented in the fall.
Ralph Smyth of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, noted traffic at Stonehenge had not increased in ten years, and that it did not justify the expenditure on a tunnel. He added, though, increasing the size of the nearby highways could cost Stonehenge its World Heritage status.
Last month Britain’s Ministry of Defense was warned against its plan to build homes, near the Stonehenge site, for retired soldiers. The plan, which was to construct 4,000 homes for veterans and their families on a nearby abandoned airfield, would have put the buildings on the exact spot the sun rises over the horizon on June 21 -- the longest day of the year and the reason many consider Stonehenge an early astronomical tool.