October 31 2014 Latest news:
Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Monday, April 28, 2014
The opening of the Elveden Bypass has taken place - with the aim of ending long waits regularly facing drivers at the traffic lights.
The opening has seen one lane open in each direction on the new 3.6 mile stretch, with a 40mph speed limit.
Motorists on the A11 will no longer have to pass through the B1106 traffic lights as a result, with a bridge in place over the road.
The work comes as part of the A11 dualling project taking place between Barton Mills and Thetford.
The Highways Agency had planned to open the bypass on Friday but said final works took place on Sunday night.
While the pain of bottlenecks and jams is felt relatively briefly by motorists, the effects of a single-lane A11 are endured by Elveden residents on a daily basis.
Ian Robertson, chair of the parish council, said the bypass will bring “peace and quiet” to the village.
“We get used to the traffic but it’s the emergency vehicles that scream past, sometimes at three in the morning.
“Hopefully it will return Elveden to being a village rather than a thoroughfare,” he said.
All but one house in the village is owned by the Elveden Estate.
Carole Hazelwood, courtyard general manager for the estate, said: “I think in the past people have been put off by the traffic. Accidents can be a problem too.
“But I am hopeful it’s going to bring more visitors who have kept away and I think it will be a benefit to our business,” she said.
Maggie Pendlebury owns the Elveden Village Store and Post Office, which is believed to have existed for nearly 100 years. She said she was “conflicted”.
“The overwhelming feeling is that it can’t do any harm to the village. It will be quieter and no longer split by the road.
“But we are concerned about the shop. We have some contingencies in place should the effect be negative, but we will wait and see until all the work is finished,” she said.
The road opened at 3am on Monday, with all traffic using the bypass as the regular route.
HGVs that normally use the C633 towards Bury St Edmunds will be directed to leave the A11 at the new B1106 junction and follow signs to continue their normal route.
Advanced warning signs will be placed along local roads directing traffic and access to businesses and properties along the B1106 and within Elveden Village will remain open as usual, via the new junction.
Once the bypass is opened, work will begin to construct the new southbound slip road less than a mile south of the Thetford roundabout. This work is expected to take approximately 12 weeks.
Highways Agency project manager, Geoff Chatfield, said:“Work on the A11 dualling and improvement scheme is progressing well, and with the opening of the A11 bypass we have reached a key milestone.”