Video: Final cones moved away and the A11 is now a fully-dualled road
14:30 12 December 2014
Thirty years of campaigning and traffic headaches have come to an end as the vision of a fully-dualled A11 is finally realised.
As roadworks were this morning removed from the 9.1 mile Barton Mills to Thetford stretch of road, drivers will be able to travel on the £102m section of dual carriageway for the first time.
Developers Balfour Beatty and the Highways Agency have downed tools after nearly two years of work, which began in January 2013.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will head to Norfolk later today to mark the final piece of jigsaw which gives the region a dual carriageway link to London.
Campaigners will gather to herald the signal that Norfolk is now more than ever a great place to do business.
The project was greenlit in the 2010 Autumn Spending Review following three decades of campaigning, started in 1984.
According to politicians and the business community, the opening will bring a raft of opportunities for Norfolk, with the Government promising that every pound spent on the project will see a return of £17.
And Norfolk County Council say that could mean more than £700m over the next 60 years.
Commuters and hauliers are also set to benefit from the road’s opening, with faster journey times and safer travel promised by the Highways Agency.
Our special souvenir supplement, included with today’s newspaper, takes a comprehensive look at the road’s history, the fight to have it fully dualled, and how the work was carried out.
Today Prime Minister David Cameron joins the voices citing the opening as putting Norfolk and Suffolk in the fast lane to success.
Writing in our souvenir supplement, Mr Cameron said the Government had “made Norfolk a priority” by initially committing £105m to the scheme, despite a struggling economy.
“When this government came into office, after the worst recession in peacetime history and with one of the worst deficits in the developed world, we could have easily put it off.
“We could have said ‘these are tough times, the country cannot afford it’, and put it back on the backburner.
“But despite the tough times, despite the constraints on public spending, we made Norfolk a priority and put up £105 million for the A11 dualling and the Elveden bypass.”
Stakeholders from the surrounding area have been invited to a special event to mark the opening.
Drivers can still expect to see minor works being carried out on the road in the coming months, according to the Highways Agency.