Breakthrough for longest tunnel

Tunnel excavations deep under the Surrey Hills which will form the UK's longest road tunnel under land are nearing completion.

Construction teams working on the £371 million project near Hindhead in Surrey have met from the north and south, linking two tunnels on the A3 between Portsmouth and London.

The A3 road tunnel will reduce traffic at a notorious bottleneck, while restoring peace and tranquillity in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It is believed that 30,000 vehicles a day will drive deep beneath the landscape instead of travelling through the Surrey Hills.

Transport minister Paul Clark believes that the innovative road will bring "real benefits" to local people by taking traffic away from Hindhead village.

He said: "This breakthrough is a major step forward for this important Highways Agency scheme. It will bring faster and safer journeys on the only trunk road between Portsmouth and London - as well as freeing the centre of Hindhead from the daily gridlock that blights the area."

Once the tunnel is ready for use the existing road will be removed.

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