The UK Government has given the green light to the construction of a road tunnel that will pass under the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge, in southern England, reports The Guardian.
The project aims to relieve traffic on a section of road with frequent traffic jams. Similar ideas had been promoted for decades, but until now had had opposition from local residents and archaeologists.
The affected road is A303, which communicates the southwest of England with the rest of the country. Near the monument it tends to register congestion, and that is why measures such as the tunnel are planned, which will measure two miles (3.2 kilometers) and which will also eliminate the noise and visual pollution next to the monument and it will reduce travel time.
The decision, made by Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps, is Against the recommendation of the Planning inspector, that warned the Government that if the project is carried out, permanent and irreversible damage could be produced.
Despite these recommendations, Shapps expressed that the need for the project it was more important that the possible damages that could take place.
The project has an expected cost of 1.7 billion pounds (almost 1,900 million euros). Work is expected to start in mid-2021 and construction of the tunnel in 2023. Works are expected to last five years.
Now it opens within six weeks to appeal to the High Court of England. Opponents of the project believe that the tunnel can cause damage to the environment, forest fires and damage possible archaeological remains that are under the surface.
Against the Stonehenge Alliance, which maintains that the project violates the obligation of the United Kingdom, via international treaties, not to damage the site that is a Cultural Heritage of Humanity.