Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Stevek76
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Stevek76 » 10 Feb 2018, 2:56pm

Your view of the HE seems a little conspiracy over cock up. Like most of these things it's actually the other way around.

They're not some all powerful group, they do what the government via the DfT tells them to do. When the Tories came to power their remit was switched to 'build roads' mode. They were also put on 5 year funding cycles so have 15bn to spend between 2015 and 2020 and will likely have a similar amount for the 5 years after that. This is not last gasp territory.

As for the A3, the easy bits get built first precisely because they are easy. If there is a finite funding pot then the projects that rate highest on the 'value for money' assessment or have significant political backing are the ones that get built. There's no grand plan to leave something like hindhead to last, it happens because that was the awkward expensive bit and that can was kicked down the road to be dealt with another day (good chance the kicker was hoping it would end up as someone else's problem as well...)

Ultimately this all feeds from government policy. The Tories are not, as a party, fans of getting people about in a sustainable (and efficient) manner.

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horizon
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby horizon » 10 Feb 2018, 4:38pm

Stevek76 wrote:
They're not some all powerful group, they do what the government via the DfT tells them to do.

I'm using HE as shorthand. There's actually a triumvirate of HE, the DfT (or government) and the roads lobby. It's enormously powerful and against the spending priorities of every other department is, as you say, hugely well funded. I leave it to others to work out who lunches with whom. Nor am I interested in how much the road contractors donate to the Conservative party.

When the Tories came to power their remit was switched to 'build roads' mode. They were also put on 5 year funding cycles so have 15bn to spend between 2015 and 2020 and will likely have a similar amount for the 5 years after that. This is not last gasp territory.

The problem is that the spending is now lunatic - £1.6bn for a couple of miles of dual carriageway does rather make cycling infrastructure seem cheap. By leaving the difficult schemes until last, HE might not run out of money (no chance of that) but it might run out of schemes that an ordinary person doesn't find bordering on madness.

As for the A3, the easy bits get built first precisely because they are easy. If there is a finite funding pot then the projects that rate highest on the 'value for money' assessment or have significant political backing are the ones that get built. There's no grand plan to leave something like Hindhead to last, it happens because that was the awkward expensive bit and that can was kicked down the road to be dealt with another day (good chance the kicker was hoping it would end up as someone else's problem as well...)

I can accept that. We'll never really know but AIUI the A3 was conceived as a complete scheme - Hindhead was always on the table (initially as a road on stilts - the tunnel plan came later).

Ultimately this all feeds from government policy. The Tories are not, as a party, fans of getting people about in a sustainable (and efficient) manner.

I agree though the distinction between the Tory party and the roads lobby is IMV a fine one.
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Feb 2018, 5:58pm

I think leaving "unimproved" sections on main roads is good
I drove through Newbury regularly before the bypass was built, there was always a jam, I opened my window and relaxed a bit
Tiredness=not taking enough breaks, is a major cause of "accidents"
Being forced to sit in a jam for a while is a bit like taking a break

I do take proper breaks when driving, one of my favourites is the Duemmer Berge near Osnabrueck, there is an Autobahn-church there where one may pray for a safe journey
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Bonefishblues » 10 Feb 2018, 6:01pm

I think that I'd rather take a break on my terms tyvm!

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby The utility cyclist » 10 Feb 2018, 7:01pm

£26B planned spending on major roads this year, threpence ha'penny on cycle infra, it's such a crock of dinosaur doo. :twisted:
That's 6% of the annual main road budget on one tiny stretch, it's disgusting.

Pete Owens
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Pete Owens » 11 Feb 2018, 2:03am

Well one way of looking at it is if you consider that building ever more roads is a bad thing, then the fewer roads that HE manage to build the better. Thus spending all their budget on one short stretch of road means there are numerous other damaging projects that they won't be able to afford.

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horizon
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby horizon » 13 Feb 2018, 11:12am

I couldn't resist this quote from the Guardian this morning:

Pakistan, too, has shown spectacularly how to combat climate change and reduce instances of flooding and natural disasters. Thousands of nurseries have been set up in the past three years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, communities have distributed for free more than 150m trees from the nurseries, existing forests have been densely planted and expanded, and large areas of degraded land have been allowed to regenerate naturally. The result will not be seen for many years, but more than one billion trees have been planted, and 350,000 hectares of forest and farmland regenerated for not much more than £100m – roughly what it would cost to build two miles of dual carriageway road in Britain.


And what could you do with £1.6bn.? This is what I mean when I say that we are now in fantasy land with road building - at some point there will be an Emperors's Clothes moment and the whole thing will be exposed for what it is.

Guardian article (about re-forestation) here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ning-trees
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Psamathe » 13 Feb 2018, 12:02pm

horizon wrote:......
And what could you do with £1.6bn.? This is what I mean when I say that we are now in fantasy land with road building - at some point there will be an Emperors's Clothes moment and the whole thing will be exposed for what it is. .....

I think "invest in our infrastructure" as become a politician sound bite and is all that is needed to justify spending vast sums of something. I have the general impression (i.e. not specific to the Stonehenge proposal) that cost/benefit, practicality, affordability, etc. become irrelevant. Like with HS2, 1st the decision to do it, then find A justification and when the justification soundbite (to save a few wealthy commuters a few minutes) was not generally accepted another justification had to be found. Now it's become easier to use soundbites like "invest in our infrastructure", "UK plc open for business" and drag in all these trade deals we'll be getting and how we are such a forward thinking nation, etc. and politicians expect that to be far more important than the actual long term strategic need and benefits.

Often (probably not in the case of Stonehenge) proposed projects can be little more than a politician seeking some vanity project as some sort of legacy memorial to themselves. Boris is desperate for such a vanity project (paid for by the public); 1st it was "Boris island" (daft idea), then a "Garden Bridge" (and that cost Londoner's a fair number of £m), now it's a bridge over the Channel.

To my simplistic mind a project that costs £1.6bn (or £52bn) means we (the public) have to borrow that amount and we have to eventually pay it back with interest. Interest rates might be low at the moment but we still have to pay the capital back (spread over time).

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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Vorpal » 13 Feb 2018, 4:10pm

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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby David9694 » 24 Feb 2018, 8:45am

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/a3-hindhead ... or-drivers (and for cyclists: this is a national tunnel for National people - nothing for you here)

I think the above is an interesting parallel. You have to look at the cost (and the opportunity cost - eg that’s a lot of cycle infrastructure you could buy), the effect on the local landscape and travel (the town of Hindhead, for example) and on the through traffic. In this case of course the old Devils Punchbowl route was a bottleneck on what from a motoring point of view was otherwise all dual carriageway from the edge of London down to Portsmouth. The 303 is a lot more varied e.g. the Blackdown Hills, so this tunnel, if ever built must only up the pressure on those stretches.

The illustration shown in the Guardian articleis a bit cheeky really - judging by the trees and their shadows our view on the west postal ( looking eastwards, roughly) Is summer late morning, so one car in each direction is pretty unlikely and would not be typical.

And if there are traffic queues building up anywhere that’s clearly a problem the authorities need to solve, right?

You have to wonder how the tunnel would in say 5000 years be interpreted: “Motor cars, you say. Individually owned and driven running on fossil fuels”. Maybe not 5000, maybe 50 years?

Pete Owens
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Pete Owens » 27 Feb 2018, 12:38pm

The other thing about the Hindhead Tunnel (that would probably also apply in this case) is that not only were cyclists banned from the new road, the old road was dug up. Highways England really really doesn't like cyclists.

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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby drossall » 27 Feb 2018, 6:46pm

I thought it was the National Trust who insisted that it be dug up?

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horizon
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby horizon » 27 Feb 2018, 9:17pm

I think so as well but it's still sad. I remember cycling it just before it was closed - it was a real old road with character. I'm not sure the NT knows what history is any more.
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Re: Stonehenge Tunnel = £1,600,000,000 (yes, that's right)

Postby Graham » 28 Feb 2018, 2:13pm

Graham : August 2017 wrote: . .. . . . . .After recent visit to the punchbowl I would say that the National Trust have failed in their objective to return the path of the old A3 to nature.
Walkers/Cyclists/Horses have worn a bare track along the profile of the old road. . . . . .etc. .

i.e. they destroyed the possibility of a well-profiled, existing & heavily-engineered path for all non-motorised users and gained NOTHING.

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