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The section of the A360 south of the Longbarrow junction will be closed for three months for essential cabling work.

Essential work is scheduled to start in April to supply electricity for National Highways’ transformational A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade past Stonehenge.

To facilitate the power supply for future construction and the tunnel in the long term, a section of the A360, between the junction of The Avenue and Longbarrow junction on the A303, will be closed for three months from early April, just after the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Following the recent High Court ruling in favour of the scheme, National Highways is now firming up plans for the essential utilities work, which will start in parallel with the conclusion of the legal process.

On behalf of National Highways, SSEN (Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks) will be installing high voltage and fibre optic cabling along the route, south of the A303, and this requires a full closure for safety reasons due to the narrow width of the road and minimal space along the verges.

To enable the underground cabling to be completed before the school summer holidays and ahead of increased traffic volumes, the work will be carried out seven days a week, with some overnight working.

The work has been planned to ensure the installation is completed as quickly as possible – close to three months as opposed to more than a year employing single lane closures and traffic signals.

During the closure, traffic will be diverted via the A345 and sections of the A303 and A36, as per the diagram below, and a comprehensive signage system is being developed to inform road users around Salisbury and as far away as Devizes and Shaftesbury to point traffic to alternate routes.
In the meantime, traffic monitoring will be carried out on various locations along the diversion routes, week commencing 18 March, and again in mid-April to measure traffic flows.

National Highways is working closely with Wiltshire Council, and measures are also being put in place to protect local roads and communities by implementing weight restrictions on a number of roads, including through the Woodfords.

Provision will be made for emergency services access and access for local landowners, residents and businesses affected by the closures, and arrangements will be discussed shortly with residents alongside and close to the A360.

David Bullock, National Highways’ Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: ‘The road scheme will ultimately tackle the longstanding issue of rat running and provide a real benefit to local communities, and for this essential preliminary work, we’ll be doing all we can to put in measures to lessen the impact of this work.

‘We need to carry out the work now to ensure our programme timescales and we want to give local communities as much notice as possible.

“We appreciate that roadworks and road closures can be frustrating and we’d like to thank motorists, local residents and businesses in advance for their patience.

‘We have deliberately avoided the summer holiday season, but we appreciate the work will impact the Whitsun Week traffic and the Summer Solstice, and we’ll be working hard to minimise disruption during those times and where we can.

‘Without the full closure, the work would take a lot longer to complete, and we’re making every effort to ensure that the impact on drivers and local communities is kept to an absolute minimum.’

Both National Highways and Wiltshire Council are keen to keep local communities informed ahead of the A360 closure.

All businesses and organisations affected by the diversion are being notified, and will be kept up to date by SSEN throughout the work, and people will also be able to find out more information, together with scheme updates, at this month’s Area Board meetings at Salisbury and Stonehenge, and further public information events, as yet to be confirmed.

Mr Bullock added: ‘Given the delays of the recent legal process, we are having to move quickly but we have been working closely with our local authority partners, and we want to give as much notice as possible to residents, businesses and other interested parties.

‘We will also ensure, along with our Wiltshire Council partners, that all traffic management measures and any changes are communicated well in advance.’

Councillor Caroline Thomas, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said: ‘Although the A360 is part of our highways network, this work is being carried out by National Highways and SSEN in preparation for the A303 improvement project.

‘We know that this closure will affect many Wiltshire residents and visitors, and so our officers have been working closely with partner agencies to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

‘National Highways will be installing diversion and warning signage in a wide area, from north Dorset to west and south Wiltshire, to ensure as many motorists as possible have an early warning to avoid the closure once the work starts.’

In addition to the power cabling programme, National Highways is currently planning to start archaeological fieldwork and preliminary works in the spring/early summer.

At the conclusion of the legal process, details of the public engagement events will be communicated to local communities and businesses.

In the meantime, further information on the A360 work will be available at the SSEN website. Up-to-date details on the A303 Stonehenge upgrade are available on the scheme website, and for any further queries, people are advised to email info@a303stonehenge.co.uk.

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