Frosty reception for A11 bypass

As the snow fell on Attleborough today, the first vehicles sped along the newly dualled bypass. But the completion of the roadworks was given a frosty reception by civic leaders who claimed the work had not gone far enough.

As the snow fell on Attleborough today, the first vehicles sped along the newly dualled bypass.

But the completion of the roadworks was given a frosty reception by civic leaders who claimed the work had not gone far enough.

It has taken about 16 months to build the 3.3-mile section of road, which got off to a slightly inauspicious start yesterday after its opening ceremony was cancelled because of the snow.

The work was welcomed today by South West Norfolk MP Christopher Fraser and local councillors, but the Highways Agency was criticised for failing to carry out improvements at the Besthorpe Road junction leading on to the A11 at Attleborough.

At the moment the Besthorpe junction only allows access on to the northbound side of the A11, with lorries from the town's industrial estate forced to clog the narrow streets and one-way system in the town centre to get access southbound.

Dualling the bypass has cost the Highways Agency about £22m plus about another £8m on assorted extras - and campaigners believe the perfect opportunity has been wasted to spend a further £2.18m on extending the junction.

Most Read

Now they will continue to campaign on the issue, have invited roads minister Stephen Ladyman to see the problems first hand, and will meet with the county council in March to see what support it can offer.

Mr Fraser said: “This dualling is an important step in our campaign for a better roads infrastructure for Norfolk, for roads that can safely cope with the weight of traffic that they have to carry.

“But we still face huge challenges. This scheme will not resolve the traffic problems of Attleborough. The government cannot just wash its hands of the Besthorpe junction upgrade, which is so urgently needed

“The transport minister knows of my dismay that the government refused to fund this simple scheme so that it could have been done at the same time as the dualling - it is not good enough to pass the buck back to cash-strapped local authorities.”

Councillor Peter Francis said: “We have set up a steering group involving the town, district councillors and the MP and there are a number of options for what we do next being knocked around.

“We will continue to push for improvements at the junction and put pressure on whoever we need to to get funding. It's vital we get improvements to that junction in order for Attleborough to form an important part of the A11 corridor.”