A11 dualling start date is 2013

Work to dual the final stretch of the A11 will begin early next year, the government has revealed.

In a letter to South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, roads minister Mike Penning said work to complete the final nine-mile stretch between Thetford and Barton Mills would begin between January and March.

It is the first time a start date has been revealed for the �134m project and work is expected to be completed by 2014/15.

The letter, dated March 21, said: 'The A11 Fiveways to Thetford improvement scheme is one of the 14 schemes announced in October 2010 and one of the four schemes now scheduled to start in 2012/13 (between January and March 2013), subject to the completion of the statutory process.'

Miss Truss said it was 'very good news' and added: 'I know residents and businesses from across the region will be very pleased by this announcement.'

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Funding for the scheme to upgrade the A11 to dual-carriageway standard between the Fiveways Roundabout at Barton Mills near Mildenhall and the southern roundabout of the Thetford bypass and create a 3.6-mile bypass of the village of Elveden was secured in the 2010 spending review.

This was welcomed by campaigners who had fought for decades for the road's completion.

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The chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Caroline Williams, said the official start date was now further good news.

She added: 'When we're dealing with government funding there's always the risk it could be delayed and therefore to have a certain start date is very positive and something that should be celebrated.

'We've had so many disappointments and so many promises and though we were clear it was going to happen this time, to be honest, until the first bit of Tarmac hits the road I don't think anybody will totally believe it.'

Preliminary work began last year with an access road at the Elveden Estate for large vehicles and although work is currently paused until the start of the next financial year, it is expected to resume in the autumn.

A Highways Agency spokesman said a programme of works for next year was being finalised but archeological and environmental works would be carried out this summer.

Mike Brown, of Gateway A11 East, which has campaigned for the dualling for some time, added now was the time for the public and private sector to start working together to take advantage of the new road.


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