Fringe Box



It’s Time to Tunnel the A3 Under Guildford, MP Says

Published on: 14 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 17 Dec, 2022

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Guildford’s MP told parliament today it is time to tunnel the A3 under Guildford to help with traffic.

Angela Richardson telling Parliament during PMQs that it is time to tunnel the A3 under Guildford.

Angela Richardson said “short-term sticking plasters” were not enough to help with the pollution outside the town, claiming the road is the most polluted in the strategic road network.

View video of Angela Richardson’s question here.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (December 14) the Conservative MP said it was time to “think big”, following the green light being given to the Solent free port this month.

The development could lead to more traffic on the A3, with Ms Richardson highlighting the point where it narrows through Guildford as very polluted.

She said “short-term sticking plasters” like nine-metre high air pollution barriers would further entrench divisions in Guildford and were not acceptable to her or to her constituents.

The MP said: “It is time to think big, it’s time to think long term.

“It’s time to tunnel the A3 under Guildford.”

In response, the Prime Minister thanked the MP for her question, recognising it was an issue she had “long-championed”.

He said National Highways were “developing a range of solutions” for the A3 through Guildford and that the Department for Transport would consider the case.

Guildford councillors have been considering a congestion charge as one way to reduce traffic and pollution in the town, which is due to see major redevelopment in the coming years.

It has been met with concerns it could impact on businesses in the town and “discriminate” against those who can’t afford to upgrade their cars.

See also: A3 Guildford Pollution Worst in England, GBC Leader Blames ‘Infrastructure Deficit’

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Responses to It’s Time to Tunnel the A3 Under Guildford, MP Says

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 14, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    There is no doubt the A3 through Guildford needs substantial improvements. Widening to three lanes has been in Department of Transport’s road improvement programme since the early 90s and I believe it has been postponed three times.

    In the early 90s, a decision was taken to install another bridge on top of the failing bridge that carries the A3 over the Reading to Gatwick railway line just south of Dennis roundabout. It was on the understanding that the widening scheme would replace both the old and the new bridge.

    The new bridge is taking the traffic loading while the old bridge is simply carrying its own weight. This temporary solution was to last about 15 years as there was no maintenance access for the new bridge. Luckily this bridge has now lasted for 30 years. However, both bridges will have to be replaced because the old bridge is rusting away and likely to cause concern about its integrity.

    National Highways has not disclosed what they would propose to do but a replacement scheme could be extremely disruptive for both the A3 and the train services.

    The tunnel idea sounds like a dream solution but the cost of such a scheme would be prohibitive. Please see extensive discussions here on The Dragon by searching for ‘the A3 Tunnel’. The country is under severe financial problems and it would not be affordable in the foreseeable future.

    What could be done is to widen the A3 to three lanes in sequence by constructing parallel routes for traffic management purposes and then these becoming part of the solution.

    I have outlined a possible sequence as described with sketches in

    • Nathan Cassidy Reply

      December 16, 2022 at 2:11 pm

      Widening the A3 to three lanes would be absolutely horrendous for Guildford. Is Bibhas Neogi not aware of the concept of induced demand? The widening will only lead to increased use of private cars, which would make traffic worse throughout the town and result in even more pollution.

      An example is the Katy Freeway in Houston, 26 lanes and there is still traffic.

  2. Harry Whyte Reply

    December 15, 2022 at 11:28 am

    It’s a bit early for April 1st surely?

    Of all the ludicrous not-going-to-happen-in-a-million-years nonsense I have seen, this takes the Dutchy Original. It’s nothing more than, yet again, kicking the can down the road rather than actually doing anything realistic that might actually start to address the choking gridlock and pollution.

    It’s a good thing Ms Richardson will be gone at the next election along with all her equally useless and ineffective mates. We may actually get someone in who is actually capable of some sensible policies, rather than “cut all the trees down, build houses everywhere but none of them affordable, and shove major A roads down drains”. You couldn’t make it up.

  3. Alan Morris Reply

    December 15, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    This is just another of those ludicrous schemes that seem to come from MPs who don’t have a clue what they’re doing in Parliament. Ms Richardson’s Guildford Tunnel Facebook Group, established nearly two years ago, has attracted 135 members while her petition on has attracted less than 300 signatures since she started lobbying.

    There are so many reasons why this will be dismissed and the sooner the DfT and the prime minister acquaint her of that fact the better.

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