LONDON — Plans to widen a road near Stonehenge could damage Britain’s famous circular stone monument, opponents of the project said Thursday.
Environmental and archaeological groups complained in a joint news release that the giant stones on Salisbury Plain in southern England will suffer if the government widens the nearby A303 road into a two-lane highway.
In plans released this week, the government proposed three miles of cuts and shallow tunnels through the countryside near the stones. The road would pass less than 350 feet from Stonehenge, a designated World Heritage Site.
"It is scandalous to propose carving a huge trench through one of the best known and most important archaeological landscapes in the world," said Kate Freeman of the environmental group Friends of the Earth.
"Stonehenge is much more than the stones alone. The whole area is a remarkable complex of ancient remains which deserves the strongest protection."
Much of the land involved belongs to the National Trust, which is under pressure to reconsider its agreement to the government plan.
Stonehenge is last in a sequence of circular monuments built between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. It is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions and a spiritual home for thousands of druids and mystics.
Activists favor an alternative plan, approved in 1995 by local groups and bodies including the National Trust and English Heritage, that includes a deeper six-mile tunnel under the whole site. They argue it would be less obtrusive and damaging than the shallower tunnels.
The government has rejected that plan, saying it is too expensive.
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