Tunnel leads to heathland restoration at Hindhead

CLOSED The old A3 closed after tunnel opened July 27 2011
CLOSED The old A3 closed after tunnel opened July 27 2011
Daniel Williams as King Charles I at Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal, Gunwharf. Picture: Byron Melton

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WORK has begun to restore more than 1,500 acres of rare heathland thanks to Britain’s longest under-land road tunnel.

The Hindhead Tunnel was opened a month ago and already it’s beginning to have more of an impact than simply reducing driving times from Portsmouth to London.

For the one-and-a-quarter-mile tunnel means environmentally-sensitive heathland above it can now be restored.

The old A3 which wound its way around the National Trust-owned Devil’s Punchbowl, is now being ripped up.

Paul Arnold, who managed the project for the Highways Agency, said: ‘As soon as the old road closed we started digging it up.

‘We’re now starting to return it to nature by covering it with sandstone excavated from the tunnel. Eventually no one will know there was ever a road there.’

The work should finish early next year when it will be handed over to the National Trust.