Video: What a difference a bypass makes! A11 through Elveden almost completely deserted
copyright: Archant 2014
It is the first time in years that Ian Robertson has heard a dawn chorus - and it is all thanks to the opening of the first section of the long-awaited A11 Elveden bypass.
For many of the 30 years he has lived in the village, the first sound the Elveden Parish Council chairman has heard when waking up has been the engine noise of cars along the congested main road and emergency vehicles with sirens blaring.
But as the new 3.6-mile bypass opened to a lane of cars in both directions for the first time at 6am yesterday, the hum of traffic was distinctly quieter - and for once, Mr Robertson could hear the birds chirping.
“At 6am I heard the first dawn chorus for goodness knows how many years,” Mr Robertson said.
“There was a little bit of traffic noise from the B1106 and we have still got a few lorries being diverted through, but it was very much quieter than it ever was.”
Mr Robertson was one of the many motorists to drive along the freshly-laid tarmac, which initially has a 40mph speed limit. The entire 9.1-mile stretch of the £102m road between Thetford and Barton Mills is due to open later in the year, with Mr Robertson saying it will make a “big difference” to life in the village and for drivers who have had to put up with jams for years.
MPs also welcomed the opening, with West Suffolk’s Matthew Hancock saying: “This is fantastic news for Suffolk.
“The Highways Agency has made great progress in such a short time and I am excited that the bypass will be opening this quickly.
“Although there will only be one lane at 40mph to start with, I’m sure it will make a real difference to the local residents as it marks the beginning of a major project for safer and less congested journeys in Suffolk.”
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss added: “The benefits to the region once full dualling has been completed will be enormous. Norfolk is completely open for business.”
The only concern that the Courtyard Shops in Elveden may suffer from loss of passing trade - but Mr Robertson said there would be signs advertising the stores on the new A11.
How will the A11 dualling affect you? Write, giving your full contact details, to: EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk