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Highways Agency defends position over A11 dualling

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 21:53 07 July 2010

Rebecca Gough

The Highways Agency yesterday defended its scheme to widen the final section of the A11 between Thetford and the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills.

Its proposals came under criticism on the second day of a public inquiry, which resumed on Monday after more than a month's adjournment, into the merits of the road widening.

The Highways Agency yesterday defended its scheme to widen the final section of the A11 between Thetford and the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills.

Its proposals came under criticism on the second day of a public inquiry, which resumed on Monday after more than a month's adjournment, into the merits of the road widening.

This week will focus on objections from the nearby Elveden Estate, led by chairman Lord Iveagh, which has concerns about the lack of a junction to link the A11 with the B1112.

Counsel for the estate, Reuben Taylor, said in his opening statement that without the junction traffic would increase at the Fiveways roundabout.

He also criticised the agency's traffic models, citing them as unreliable and outdated.

But speaking at the inquiry yesterday , transport planner for the scheme, Andrew Merritt, said: “The main cause is queuing back onto the roundabout from the A11 single carriageway.

“With the scheme that queuing would disappear partly because we'd be providing a dual carriageway and partly because we'd be removing the Elveden crossroads which is a major cause of queuing, especially in the holidays.

“We don't believe it would be beneficial to put the junction in to relieve the traffic at Fiveways. Any traffic would be alleviated by improvements to Fiveways, which we're doing.”

The objections from the Elveden Estate, headed by chairman Lord Iveagh, prompted the Highways Agency to re-run its traffic modelling on the dualled road in December.

It then presented its findings to the estate, which asked for the adjournment to consider the results.

The inquiry is set to continue until Friday when all sides will make their closing statements.

The planning inspector, Neil Taylor, will then produce a report to go before the secretary of state who will make the final decision.

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