Last crossing over A3 tunnel opens

The A3 tunnel at Hindhead
The A3 tunnel at Hindhead
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The last crossing to be completed over the £371m tunnel scheme on the A3 at Hindhead has opened.

The new Miss James Bridge crosses 17 metres above the A3 just outside the southern end of the tunnel.

It is an environmental bridge which is earthed over and planted to provide a link between habitats for wildlife and a safe and pleasant crossing point for walkers and horse riders.

The bridge is named after Mary James, a wealthy benefactor of the National Trust in its early years.

Children from five local schools planted trees and shrubs on and around the bridge before it was officially opened by David Kennington from the National Trust.

The Hindhead tunnel project, which includes the UK’s longest underland road tunnel, is being carried out by the Highways Agency.

The contractor is Balfour Beatty.

The scheme will eliminate a notorious traffic blackspot at the Hindhead crossroads, which blights the lives of 30,000 motorists on a daily basis, including those travelling between the Midhurst area and Guildford and M25.

The tunnel is due to open this summer.

The Miss James Bridge is one of seven safe crossing points that have been built as part of the project, which link up a network of footpaths, cycle routes and bridleways and provide safer walking routes to four local schools.

The road scheme diverts a length of some four miles of the existing A3 Portsmouth Road on to a new alignment, with a 1.25 mile section, passing under the famous Devil’s Punch Bowl, placed in a twin-bored tunnel.

The existing A3, which skirts the Punch Bowl, will be returned to nature after the new road opens.