Fringe Box



Letter: The Viability of an A3 Tunnel Under Guildford Needs To Be Discussed

Published on: 25 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 25 Jul, 2021

The existing A3 tunnel at Hindhead. Image Wikipedia

From: Julian Lyon

In response to: Guildford’s MP Asks PM for an A3 Tunnel – Boris Agrees to Look Into It

Having had a conversation with Angela Richardson MP, I can say that there is merit in exploring this issue because there is no viable plan for the A3, or at least not one that can be resolved without massive disruption during construction.

Let’s assume, for the sake of an argument, that it makes sense to relieve the A3. How can we function if the A3 were reduced to a single contraflow lane in each direction?

Can we really find a surface route we would agree on? through Whitmoor Common or through the AONB somehow?

So I think we need to explore this question, not because we want to build more roads but because it makes no sense to do nothing. Indeed, what was the point of building a Hindhead Tunnel or what will be the point of the M25 J10 improvements if they only serve to combine to deliver a standstill across Guildford?

My previous letter was seeking to do more than think “tunnel under Guildford”. I am currently working on a 15-mile tunnel 40-60 metres under London – for the most part under the River Thames. It is challenging and around £4bn but not impossible. As Dragon letter writer Bibhas Neogi said, long tunnels are difficult for safety reasons and so this needs to be a smart answer.

I also noted the challenge with LPG cars in the Channel Tunnel and so I urged caution to ensure emerging technologies do not render the solution useless.

Rail and buses are not substitutes although, if well planned, they clearly have a part to play in stemming at least some of the growth in private transportation.

We need action on so many fronts because Guildford has missed out for decades, despite being a major net national contributor of cash.

Petition or not, this is an issue that should be discussed, should be considered on its true merits and should at last lead to some serious attention to a twenty-year-old problem on the A3, and the consequent stress at peak times on our local roads networks.

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Responses to Letter: The Viability of an A3 Tunnel Under Guildford Needs To Be Discussed

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 26, 2021 at 10:11 am

    To answer Julian Lyons’ question, “How can we function if the A3 were reduced to a single contraflow lane in each direction?” I would like to say that this is definitely avoidable.

    There are possible widening solutions that would incorporate traffic management measures so that two lanes in both directions could be maintained at all times.

    My website has sketches showing suggested layout of building links that would be part of the permanent design and at the same time, these would enable two lanes of traffic to be maintained during construction.

    I do not know how Highways England (HE) was developing its scheme but if the scheme is reinstated, and I hope it is, a long-awaited improvement to the A3 would be achieved.

    I have sent an email to GBC about how I think this could be done. GBC along with SCC are going to take this up with National Highways (formerly Highways England).

    I have a document with sketches of how the widening could be done sequentially whilst maintaining two lanes in temporary traffic management which are too large and too technical to be included here.

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