24 or so years ago as a school girl I went to see some of the work my Dad was doing. I was taken to a public consultation about a new road scheme, a scheme to divert the A3 road around a troublesome bottleneck junction at Hindhead, on the road down to Portsmouth from London. At various times over the following 23 years we, as a family, would be come familiar with the routes of possible roads, which valleys around the local area would be destroyed, which people were up in arms about which part of the possible solutions. We had to be told to be quiet on walks around Hindhead as we loudly asked, “is this where the road is going?”.
At some point the idea of a tunnel was hit upon and planning started. Dad’s stress levels seemed to rise and fall with each new transport minister who came along and funding was promised, taken away, promised again, taken away and one dark day in the Arnold house it looked like all was lost. 18 years of work might be washed away in the need to save money.* Thankfully for my Dad’s sanity the scheme was finally approved and work began on a tunnel that strangely seemed to please most of the local people. the people using the A3 and the dormice. Strange how these things work out.
On Saturday we got to walk through the tunnel along with 6,000 other curious people. I’m not one to usually take notice of such things but when your Dad has poured hours of what felt like blood, sweat and tears into getting it finished it feels like a pretty big achievement. Well, it is. Although it pains me to link to an article from the Daily Mail, here’s a very sweet write up of the tunnel and Mr Paul Arnold. I think it’s a pretty good legacy to leave as he heads off to retirement next year and the new challenges that will bring. I’m excited that there is more to his life than this tunnel but I’m also very proud of his work on it right now.
*please note, most of this is made up from my sketchy memory, if you want the accurate up and down story, maybe find the official website or something.
Husbandface and Dad stare intently at the tunnels. As I took this picture Husbandface turned to me and said, “you’re going to blog that picture aren’t you, with the caption- ‘Husbandface and Dad stare intently at the tunnels'”. Yes Husbandface, I am.