Monday, November 17, 2008
Following discussions with local MPs, councils and the Regional Assembly, Mr Hoon has confirmed crucial improvement work to the A11 between Fiveways and Thetford can be brought forward from 2012/13, subject to consideration of any objections to the scheme and the outcome of statutory processes. This would enable this important scheme to open to traffic in early 2013, 18 months ahead of the previous timetable.
Geoff Hoon said:
"The Government is committed to bringing forward infrastructure investment wherever possible, so I am pleased to confirm that today I have asked the Highways Agency to work towards delivering this much needed scheme to dual the last single carriageway stretch of the A11 at the earliest opportunity - subject to the outcome of statutory planning and order making processes.
"The region has confirmed improvement work to this heavily used road which connects the East of England with London and the Midlands via the motorway network is a top priority which will bring increased capacity, improved journey times and safety, and provide a big boost to the region's economy.
"Bringing start of works forward to Autumn 2010 would mean road users would benefit from the improvements around 18 months earlier than originally planned. It will also provide better value for money, costing around £8 million less than it would to start work in 2012/13. This scheme confirms the Government's commitment to delivering transport improvements to the East of England."
Barbara Follett, Regional Minister for the East of England, said:
"Today's announcement of a planned earlier start on an upgrade to the A11 is great news for the East of England and will boost the economy during these difficult times.
"This is the Government's commitment to support key infrastructure projects despite the downturn in the economy in action and is, I believe, the result of effective partnership working locally, regionally and nationally.
"As Chair of the East of England Regional Economic Forum I will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we can help support the region's economy."
Roger Hawkins, project manager for the Highways Agency, said:
"Completing the dualling of the A11 between the M11 and Norwich will significantly contribute to improving journey time reliability and ease congestion. The scheme includes a bypass that will take traffic away from Elveden, bringing substantial benefits to the village which has Conservation Area status."
Draft Orders for the scheme will be published shortly by the Highways Agency.
Depending on the nature and weight of any objections to the proposals, a Public Inquiry may be held.