Posted 27 July 2011 by Andrew Gardner
After eight years of planning and four years of construction, the Hindhead Tunnel on the A3 finally opens to traffic today. The tunnel at 1.2 miles is the longest road tunnel in Great Britain and it is reckoned it will cut 20 minutes off the journey between Portsmouth and Guildford.
The Hindhead Tunnel passes beneath the Devils Punch Bowl an area of outstanding natural beauty that is owned by the National Trust and is close to the Sussex border with Surrey. It is expected that the opening of the tunnel will lead to many visitors now wanting to come and enjoy the western end of the South Downs around Petersfield and west towards Winchester. The old road junction at Hindhead was always such a barrier to allowing easy access to this beautiful area of Sussex and Hampshire Downland.
The Queen Elizabeth Country Park which includes Butser Hill is just south of Petersfield and very close to the A3 is seen as a major beneficiary while other visitor attractions such as Uppark near South Harting and Standsted Park at Rowlands Castle in Hampshire will also benefit.
Of course leaving the beautiful countryside that we have here aside, the Hindhead Tunnel itself will be of interest and an attraction to many. It has been in the news here for so many years now, it will be great to finally have the opportunity to drive through it!