Video: Ribbon cut on new fully dualled A11

The A11 is officially opened by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

The A11 is officially opened by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The fully dualled A11 has been officially opened following a ceremony to mark the completion of works on the final stretch of the road between Fiveways and Thetford.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin cut the ribbon on the new road this morning, a few hours after the last remaining cones were moved away.

The momentous occasion marks the end of a long-running campaign to see the road fully dualled – and is expected to not only reduce journey times in and out of the county, but give the region a massive economic boost.

Speaking to MPs, business leaders and media at the ceremony at the Elveden Inn, Mr McLoughlin said: 'This major upgrade to the A11 is part of the most ambitious, far reaching programme for decades. It will not only benefit those who use the road every day but create jobs and opportunities, benefitting hardworking families across East of England.

'Having previously worked at Norwich hospital I remember well getting stuck behind traffic on this road. But this is about more than just roads getting faster.

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'Today is a great day and this is part of a programme of improved infrastructure that we want to deliver for East Anglia.

'I just want to thank everyone who has been involved in this project.'

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Present at the opening were a host of Norfolk and Suffolk dignitaries business leaders, Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs and chief executive Wendy Thomson, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for roads and transport Graham Newman and most of Norfolk's MPs.

Councillor Newman said: 'I'm delighted that this project is complete. It will not only help the regions economy as a whole but make a big difference locally, for instance to transport in Brandon and Centre Parcs.'

Councillor Nobbs added: 'Although most of this new road is in Suffolk, a lot of the benefits will be for Norfolk.

'Today is a great day for Norfolk. There is no longer any excuse for any businesses not to invest in this county.'

Lord Iveagh, owner of the Elveden estate, said: 'It's great for everyone, it's a new era.'

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: 'Norfolk's business community has been very tenacious and the result is the dualling of the A11, which will attract major investment to improve our visibility.'

The campaign to fully dual the road began more than 30 years ago, though the plans had first been mooted more than a decade before that. Bits of the road were then dualled over the years but it wasn't until 2012 that this final project was given the go-ahead.

An estimated 27,000 cars use the road every day and they will now have the time it takes drastically reduced. A previous report estimated the scheme will deliver £700m in economic benefits over the next 60 years.

• A special 48-page A11 supplement appears in today's EDP. Meanwhile a 16-page special appears in the Norwich Evening News.

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