A11 weekend closures to cause ‘traffic chaos’

Aerial shot of the dual carriageway on the A11 at Elveden being built in April 2013. Photo: Mike Pag

Aerial shot of the dual carriageway on the A11 at Elveden being built in April 2013. Photo: Mike Page. - Credit: Archant

Imminent weekend road closures at one of East Anglia's worst bottlenecks will lead to 'traffic chaos', it has been warned.

The Highways Agency is set to put diversions in place at the Fiveways roundabout near Barton Mills for up to four weekends in October as part of its £128 million project to dual the A11 to Thetford.

Work will see a different junction close on the roundabout each weekend from Friday night to Monday morning between October 4 and 21, with another weekend reserved should work not be completed in time.

Colin Noble, Suffolk County councillor for Row Heath, said he felt the Highways Agency had ignored the council's plea to keep the roads open wherever possible during the work.

'We understand there has to be some disruption while this work goes on and we all want the economic benefits it will eventually bring.

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'But we met with the agency and the one thing we asked for was that they at least keep the road flowing while work goes on.

'The weekends it will be closed are going to cause traffic chaos and gridlock for those few days,' he said.

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Mr Noble added that he felt the agency could have taken the alternative of closing one lane while the work went on.

Diversions will see drivers funneled through nearby Brandon, Mildenhall, Beck Row and Elveden.

The A1065 to Brandon - which will be used in the diversions - is already recognised as one of the area's most congested roads.

Reg Silvester, Brandon Town Council chairman and Suffolk County councillor, said councillors were due to meet with the Highways Agency to discuss the situation.

'We want improvements and you have to put up with aggravation - we all have to do our bit.

'I don't want to see the road closed but I'm sure they are doing it for good reason,' he said.

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said the closures were its only option.

'The existing roundabout is in poor structural condition and requires extensive work. There is insufficient road space around the roundabout to safely allow two-way traffic to continue to use the road while the works are carried out.

'We have worked closely with Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils to agree suitable diversion routes for local, regional and strategic long distance traffic during these weekend closures,' she said.

Diversions for the closures have been laid out in a document released by the agency last month.

Long distance travellers from Newmarket to Norwich will be encouraged to take the A14 and A140.

Traffic for Thetford will be signed from the A14 to Bury St Edmunds, and from there along the A134 and A1088.

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