Road building schemes clear new hurdle
A SERIES of major new road-building schemes in East Anglia has moved a step closer to reality after winning “critical” backing.Plans to dual the A120 between Marks Tey and Braintree - part of the main route to Stansted Airport from the east - and dualling the A11 between the Fiveways Roundabout and Thetford have both won the crucial support.
A SERIES of major new road-building schemes in East Anglia has moved a step closer to reality after winning “critical” backing.
Plans to dual the A120 between Marks Tey and Braintree - part of the main route to Stansted Airport from the east - and dualling the A11 between the Fiveways Roundabout and Thetford have both won the crucial support.
At a meeting in Cambridge yesterday the East of England Regional Assembly's regional planning panel backed the schemes as part of a £1billion list of 23 road projects to be completed in the region between now and 2016.
Also on the list, which needs to be ratified by the full assembly before seeking Government funding, was the Stowmarket bypass.
Last night, Bob Feltwell, chief executive for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the backing for A120 scheme - which would see journey times to Stansted Airport shortened.
“We fully support the improvements to the A120 and see it as a very positive move and would want to see changes sooner rather than later. It is just one of a whole range of road improvements we have been lobbying for.
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“All the chamber of commerce throughout the region have been pressing for a better infrastructure to enable us to get around and to Stansted because we want a greater choice of airlines and better destinations,” he said.
And news that the long-awaited £86million improvement to the A11 - the last single carriageway stretch of one of the main eastbound roads - has been shortlisted for funding was also welcomed.
West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said: “The panel's support for this is absolutely critical and I am confident that if the assembly backs this as vital for the infrastructure of the east of England, the Government will agree to this.
“This is a major step forward for a scheme which is not only vital to the region's economy but will help put an end to the carnage associated with this road.”
Brian Stewart, chief executive of the regional assembly, explained the shortlist will now go forward to the full assembly on December 8 for approval, before further consultation with the regional partnership group and a final submission to the Government in January.
He said: “We feel this is a solid list which meets our aspirations and objectives and those of the people of the region, within the financial envelope allotted by the Government, of course we would have liked to have done more, but I am hopeful this list will win the support of the assembly and the Government.”
Forest Heath District councillor Rona Burt, a long time campaigner for the A11 scheme, also welcomed the news.
She said: “I think this is absolutely wonderful, I would welcome any step toward getting this completed. There have been so many accidents along there, this needs to be done as quickly as possible.”
The planning panel was handed a 300 strong petition from Gateway A11 East, a group of businesses who claim improvements to the A11 are essential to the region's economy.
A final decision on the schemes which will be carried out is expected from the Government in Spring 2006.