CONSTRUCTION OF the much delayed A3 Hindhead tunnel will begin in April 2008 following roads minister Stephen Ladyman's go-ahead last week.
The future of scheme to dual the last single carriageway section of the A3 was cast into doubt in July. Then, roads minister Stephen Ladyman revealed that costs had escalated from £240M to £371M in two years (NCE 27 July).
Transport secretary Douglas Alexander said that he was only 'minded to' accept the public inspector's recommendation that the scheme go ahead.
He said a nal decision would be taken 'in the light of responses to a limited consultation exercise to address the fact that, since the close of the local inquiry, there has been a signi ant increase in costs of the scheme'.
The cost increases were due to in tion following the delayed start. Tightened tunnelling regulations have also increased costs.
The scheme includes the construction of a 1.9km long twinbore tunnel under the Devil's Punch Bowl, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It will divert the London to Portsmouth road away from a notorious bottleneck Initial environmental works will begin in January and the main scheme in April 2008.
The tunnel is expected to open to motorists in 2011.