A11 dualling takes step forward

A POWERFUL lobby spearheaded by Suffolk and Norfolk is tantalisingly close to getting the all clear for a 2010 start to complete the dualling of the A11.

Will Clarke

A POWERFUL lobby spearheaded by Suffolk and Norfolk is tantalisingly close to getting the all clear for a 2010 start to complete the dualling of the A11.

The rush hour bottleneck at Elvedon is an all too familiar experience costing the region an estimated £600million.

It is a nine-mile stretch of road, between Fiveways and Thetford, which is all that stands between a fully dualled link from London to Norwich.


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And the power to break the impasse rests in the hands of the regional planning panel when it meets in Cambridge on July 8.

Part of the East of England regional assembly, the panel comprises of councillors from across six counties as well as stakeholders from a selection of community and voluntary groups.

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On July 8 they will be urged to recommend to ministers the bringing forward of the start date for completion of the scheme to 2010.

On Friday politicians and business leaders met in Norwich to put on a united front to make the case ahead of the pivotal meeting.

Norfolk and Suffolk County council leaders Daniel Cox and Jeremy Pembroke have written a joint letter to each panel member stating the case.

“We now believe we have got the opportunity to give it the final push to get it over the final hurdle,” Mr Pembroke said. “If we clear that it will allow our efforts to enter a new phase, but it's essential we secure support at a regional level to signal to the Government how seriously this is viewed by us.

“Dualling the final stretch of the A11 is long overdue and I am determined that our voices are heard at the highest levels of government.

“By acting in conjunction with colleagues in Norfolk and with the widespread support of our business community we can send out a strong message - we mean business.”

Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport at Suffolk County Council, who chair's the regional transport forum, said it was important everyone got behind a 2010 launch date.

He said: “I am delighted that the regional transport forum has thrown its weight behind this scheme. I urge the Highways Agency to get on and sort out the remaining rights of way issues and then publish the orders needed for this long delayed scheme.”

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly has already hinted that if the region can show a united front and put the A11 dualling at the top of the list, then the Government will look sympathetically at agreeing a 2010/11 start date.

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