The tendering process for the controversial £1.6bn Stonehenge tunnel is likely to start at the end of this year.
Highways England has completed its public consultation phase and will now work its way through around 3,500 responses.
The project – which received some 5,000 responses to its first consultation – has been met by strong opposition from green groups and archaeologists.
A spokesperson for the project said that it now plans to begin its search for contractors before the end of 2018.
“The tender process is likely to be initiated around the end of the year to ensure we have contractors appointed in time to meet the current programme for a start of construction in 2021, in anticipation of the DCO being secured and if we decide to proceed with private finance,” a Highways England spokesperson said.
“We have had around 3,500 responses to the supplementary consultation.
“We will continue to develop the scheme, taking into consideration the views received from both the statutory and supplementary consultations.”
Once going through feedback received, Highways England will publish a report on the consultations.
This will tie into its application for development which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in the coming months.
The examination will take around six months, with the Planning Inspectorate given a further three months to make recommendations to the government.
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