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Most Norfolk residents will have breathed a sigh of relief when the government decided to complete the dualling of the A11; this was long overdue. With regular tailbacks occurring at Elveden and the journey from Norwich to the Barton Mills roundabout taking far longer than it should, the economy of Norfolk was being adversely affected. Holidaymakers were finding this main route to Norwich, North Norfolk and the Norfolk Broads more frustrating with each passing year. Commercial traffic was also feeling the impact with ever-increasing journey times from Norwich to London and from Norwich to the A14 road to the Midlands.
Work well underway
The dualling work between Thetford and the Fiveways roundabout is now well underway. The trees have been cleared from the route of the new road and the line that the carriageway will take is clearly visible.
Some delay in work is inevitable at the moment due to the snow conditions. This is unlikely to impact on the proposed opening date of December 2014. The work undertaken so far has included:
The boundaries have been marked by the installation of fencing that is intended to keep everyone other than construction workers away from the areas where work is taking place.
Investigation is ongoing and protective measures are being taken. Newt fencing has been installed and they, and other small reptiles, will be relocated to safe areas. Temporary badger fencing has been erected but as works continue permanent tunnels will be constructed under the new roads to facilitate the movement of the animals without endangering them.
Evidence of human settlements from as far back as 50BC have been found. Evidence of flint workings from 4,000BC were also discovered. Shards from pottery that originated in France and the Nene Valley have also been unearthed by the archaeology team.
Benefits of the new road
When the road is opened the journey times from Norwich to Barton Mills will be considerably reduced, particularly during the period of the heaviest traffic flows throughout the summer months. This will speed up access to the main Norfolk holiday centres. Great Yarmouth, Norwich, North Norfolk and the Broads should feel the tourism benefits, as holidaymakers find that reaching the beautiful county of Norfolk is no longer the arduous journey it once was. The new road will also remove the traffic danger from the village of Elveden; something the residents have campaigned for over many years.
A pdf of the plans is available at the Highways Agency website.