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Letter: Perhaps an A3 Tunnel is Beyond Logical

Published on: 20 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 20 Jul, 2021

From Julian Lyon

In response to: An A3 Tunnel? Consider These Factors

We need a balanced approach. Without resolution of intransigent traffic problems, buses will always struggle to run on time across the borough and region, making them less desirable.

Buses (and their stops) need to be convenient, clean, safe, reliable, affordable and comfortable in order to succeed in replacing car journeys – and even then they will not substantially replace cars in spread-out areas where few people live within 100 yards of the nearest bus stop.

In order to resolve this traffic issue, we need improvements (particularly environmental) in the urban areas and we need to rethink the scar caused by the A3 – already a bypass of a bypass – which carves through the urban area creating both a physical division and a marker for relative deprivation (check out the IMD scores across Guildford).

I personally would prefer to see a northern route for an A3 bypass tunnel – possibly starting at Send and running beneath Sutton Green and Jacob’s Well but emerging to connect with the A320 – offering Woking a sensible and accessible connection, and removing Slyfield vehicles from the local road network. The A3 would dive again beneath Whitmoor Common and emerge again just north of Compton.

There are some serious side effects of this (whichever route is selected for a new tunnel). If the tunnel passes under Guildford, there will probably need to be ventilation plant and shafts in amongst the town’s buildings. If it bypasses the town, access from the south will be focused via villages like Compton and Shalford. No solution is without side-effects.

It does seem counter-intuitive to build roads when we are trying to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gases but it is worth remembering that keeping traffic moving is the best way to conserve energy (whether electricity or petrol/diesel).

One last thought, is there a future for the hydrogen-powered vehicle? If so,  would we see bans of such vehicles from long tunnels, such as we saw in the Channel Tunnel for LPG-powered vehicles? Perhaps talk of a tunnel really is beyond logical.

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