A344 road (England)

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A344 passing close to Stonehenge prior to closure; A303 in foreground

The A344 was an A road in the English county of Wiltshire. It ran from its junction with the A303 at Stonehenge, northwest to its junction with the A360, 2 miles (3.2 km) away.

The A344 was once part of a longer route, from Andover in the east to Warminster in the west. The section from Andover to Amesbury was redesignated as the A303, when the new route to the south west was created to bypass the A30 to the south. The western section, from Shrewton to Warminster has been re-classified as the B390.[1]

The remaining section passed close to Stonehenge. In July 2012, work began on a £27m project which involved the closure and grassing over of the A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and the monument, with the pedestrian underpass beneath the road being filled in.[2] This section of road was eventually closed in June 2013.[3] The new Stonehenge visitors' centre at Airman's Corner (or Airman's Cross) opened in December 2013.

Vehicle traffic on the remaining section of the A344 is now mostly shuttle buses providing transport from the visitors' centre to the monument. The bus service could not cope with demand during the fourth weekend after opening; long queues developed and many visitors chose to walk to the Stones rather than wait for the buses.[4]

Therefore, the A344 is no longer a road open to public vehicular access. As the closure of the section between Airman's Cross and Byway 12 was by means of a traffic regulation order prohibiting motor vehicles, this section remains a public highway.

A memorial to Major Alexander William Hewetson, of the 66th Battery Royal Field Artillery, stands beside the old A344 at Fargo Wood, west of Stonehenge. Major Hewetson was killed in a flying accident on 17 July 1913.

Old A344 at Stonehenge, closed in 2013 and 'grassed over' (December 2013)
memorial to Major Alexander William Hewetson

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Milestone southwest of Chitterne". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Stonehenge's £27m makeover will end its days as a traffic island". The Guardian. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Stonehenge permanent road closure work begins". BBC News: Wiltshire. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "'Be patient' plea over new Stonehenge visitor centre". BBC News: Wiltshire. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°10′58″N 1°50′25″W / 51.1827°N 1.8404°W / 51.1827; -1.8404