Work to complete the UK’s longest road tunnel under land took a step closer this week as its north and south tunnels met beneath the Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey.
The £371M 1.8km twin-bored Hindhead tunnel is designed to reduce traffic congestion on the A3 between Portsmouth and London where 30,000 vehicles per day blight the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The project is due to complete in the summer of 2011, and the next step is to complete the tunnel and build approach roads.
The tunnel will reduce noise and emissions, improving the habitat for wildlife and rare and protected species such as the Nightjar and Woodlark.
Transport Minister Paul Clark said the breakthrough was: “A major step forward for this important Highways Agency scheme.
“It will bring faster and safer journeys on the only trunk road between Portsmouth and London – as well as freeing the centre of Hindhead from the daily,” he said.
Underpasses will allow horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians to cross the A3 in safety. A 9km cycle route will also be created.
Consultant: Mott MacDonald
Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Client: Highways Agency