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Alternative options for A11 dualling revealed

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:49 06 July 2010

Alternative proposals for dualling the A11.

Alternative proposals for dualling the A11.

A handful of alternative schemes for a dualled A11 have been published by objectors after concerns about one of Suffolk's busiest roundabouts.

People living near the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills fear the current proposal by the highways agency would cause gridlock.

A handful of alternative schemes for a dualled A11 have been published by objectors after concerns about one of Suffolk's busiest roundabouts.

People living near the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills fear the current proposal by the highways agency would cause gridlock. This has prompted three people to submit four alternative plans.

The first proposes to bypass the Fiveways roundabout with a diversion to the south.

The second would involve connector roads linking the northbound and southbound A11 carriageways at the B1112 crossing; while number three also proposes connecting the C616 to the B1112 via a parallel road outside the main highway.

The fourth would include a cycleway with access from the B1112 onto the northbound A11 and access off the A11 onto the B1112 from the southbound carriageway.

Peter Sturgeon, who lives in Mildenhall, told how his rival scheme, option one, shows an alternative to the A11 running south east of the route put forward by the Highways Authority.

“It is so important for the Barton Mills residents,” he said. “It is just a huge improvement in terms of the quality of life and environmental impact for people in the area. The roundabout is never going to get any better until you take the traffic off it.”

A public inquiry is planned for next month where these alternatives are likely to be discussed. In the meantime people have until November 3 to lodge their comments.

The Highways Agency proposals have been beset with problems for some time, with concerns raised about the need for an underground crossing, the future of the endangered Stone Curlew, and traffic at the Fiveways.

Mike Brown, spokesperson for Gateway A11 East which has campaigned for work to begin as soon as possible, said he could not comment on the plans themselves, but added: “Whilst we can see the merit in amendments to the Barton Mills roundabout, any further delays to this road are costing not just Thetford millions, but the county tens of millions in lost trade and lost investment.

“On balance we would prefer the original scheme to go ahead and to look at the amendments as a separate project. Whilst that's regrettable from a cost perspective, we feel this has to go ahead.”

A Highways Agency spokesperson said if an alternative is recommended by the planning inspector it would then have to be resubmitted in draft form. People would then be given the chance to comment and object to it.

All relevant documents will be available to view until November 5 at the highways division of the county council at Bury St Edmunds, Forest Heath District Council Offices, Thetford Library, and the highways offices in Bedford.

Anyone wishing to speak at the public inquiry is asked to submit their proof of evidence to the Highways Agency by the end of business on Monday, October 26.

At the end of the inquiry a report will be submitted to the secretary of state who will make a decision on the future of the scheme

t t The inquiry will begin at 10am on November 24 at Elveden Village Hall It is not known how long it will last.

t t Comments on the alternative plans should be sent to Phil Cheesmur, project manager, Woodlands, Manton Lane, Bedford, MK41 7LW, or email Philip.cheesmur@highways.gsi.gov.uk, quoting reference HA 65/13/25.

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