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A11 opening looking set to bring Christmas cheer

PUBLISHED: 09:46 29 November 2014 | UPDATED: 19:25 29 November 2014

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Drivers and businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk could be getting an early Christmas present as speculation grows about the opening date of the fully dualled A11.

The opening of the 9.1 mile stretch of road between Thetford and the Fiveaways roundabout will take place on December 12, according to word among the business community in Thetford.

The tightly-guarded date was hinted at by an invitation to an event from the Highways Agency. It was then forwarded to members of the Thetford Business Forum, with an assumption that it was the opening date.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency refused to confirm the date, saying the invitation was to an event thanking stakeholders.

“As the A11 project reaches its final stages we have invited stakeholders and partners involved in the scheme to an event to formally thank them. Meanwhile, we are on target for scheme completion by the end of this year,” she said.

The December date would mean the Highways Agency and Balfour Beatty will have met their winter 2014 target completion date. Work began in January 2012.

The project is also expected to come in £1m under its £102m budget.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said: ‘This is great news - the A11 will protect jobs but also encourage growth and prove a real boost for tourism, education and employment not only in Thetford and Snetterton , but also the ripple effect further afield with the Brecks, Thetford Forest, Swaffham all benefitting – an excellent early Christmas present for Norfolk.”

Mike Brown, from Thetford Business Forum, said the opening of the road was just the beginning.

“It brings to an end many years of hard campaigning. The politicians have done their job, the contractors have done theirs, and now our work begins to deliver the economic benefits that this road has the potential to create,” he said.

A comprehensive 48-page pull-out supplement telling the story of the A11’s development will be released with the EDP on the day the road fully opens.

How well do you think the project has been run? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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