The Hindhead Tunnel opened on the 27th and 29th July 2011, and for those who commute into Surrey and beyond it has made a significant difference on the quality of life. There is much speculation as to whether it has had an impact on the traffic on our roads or not, affecting the quality of life in East Hants, so as we approach the second year anniversary I thought it would be interesting to see what the traffic flows have been like, and if it is possible to answer the question yet.
One Freedom of Information request later (including a stroppy email chasing a late reply) the data I asked for was sent to me. Well, some of it at least, and enough to do a bit of an assessment.
In 2012, the last full year of the ‘Old A3’ around Hindhead the daily traffic count was 19,076. In 2012, the first full year after opening, this had increased to 21,153, or an increase of 10.9%. Therefore, yes, the opening of the Hindhead Tunnel has resulted in an increase in traffic of about 11% through the tunnel compared to through the village.
So, does this affect us in Horndean, or does most of the increase come from Bordon, Petersfield and along the A272 etc? The Highways agency also provided a data sheet on the traffic flow along the A3M between our junctions so we can see what the impact is on us here.
Unsurprisingly, yes, we do have an increase in traffic but only half the increase in Hindhead, and this tails off the further down the A3 and A3M you go. Between Junctions 1,2 of the A3M (Horndean) there is a 5.3% increase pre and post tunnel. At the bottom of the A3M between junctions 4,5 (Bedhampton) the increase is only 1.7%
Was the tunnel worth it? For those who travel into Surrey or London by car, absolutely, yes. It has shortened the daily commute by a good half hour a day, maybe even more as well as massively cutting pollution from queues in Hindhead. Has there been an impact on other communities? Yes, but not as much as we might perceive.
Is this increase more or less than you would have thought? Let me know.
If you would like to see the raw data then click on this link and there are two files you can download: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/traffic_volume_pre_and_post_hind#incoming-388786