Is this roller coaster ride at Ten Mile Bank, near Downham Market, Norfolk’s worst road..?

Hold tight for Norfolk's newest white knuckle ride. But this roller coaster isn't in some seaside amusement park. It's the only road in and out of part of a village near Downham Market.

Drought-damaged roads across the Fens will cost millions to repair, Norfolk County Council said last night.

In many areas, the peaty soil has shrank as it has dried out because of lack of rainfall.

That means road surfaces have also become uneven.

Engine Road, which runs alongside the Great Ouse at Ten Mile Bank, near Downham Market, is almost impassable.

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'Engine Road at Ten Mile Bank illustrates a problem that is becoming familiar right across the Fens following the extended dry spell,' said a Norfolk County Council spokesman.

'The underlying peat is drying out and shrinking, causing subsidence in many places. Sometimes it can be quite alarming.

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'Norfolk County Council is getting together with Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Peterborough to discuss the best way of dealing with the problem, and also to consider a joint approach to the Government for special funding.

'Over the whole of the fens the repair cost is likely to run into several million pounds.'

The spokesman said it was aware of the problems along Engine Road. On one 200yd stretch, the road has sank by more than a metre.

'This is a quiet road and we do not want to rush into repairs because it would be easy to spend a lot of money without solving the problem,' he added.

'Simply filling the depressions with a large quantity of new material could further overload the road's foundations.'

Council highways engineers have surveyed the problem and will be making their recommendations shortly.

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