FEARS over diversions and key access routes were eased after a meeting of the major players in the A11 dualling project.
Last Friday, a variety of stakeholders, including the Highways Agency, county councillors, Elveden Estates, Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, and the British Horse Society met at Suffolk County Council’s offices in Ipswich for a meeting chaired by Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning.
High on the agenda was a discussion on where diversions would be placed while the dualling work was being carried out.
As reported in the Bury Free Press, councillors had raised fears that traffic would be funnelled through Brandon’s High Street – meaning another 31,000 vehicles passing through the notorious bottleneck.
But according to Bill Bishop, Suffolk county councillor for Brandon, the Highways Agency confirmed that it had no plans to divert traffic through the town, other than in emergency situations.
Cllr Bishop said: “I thought the meeting was excellent and it was great to hear that Brandon will be not be subjected to that traffic during the works.”
That view was echoed by Mr Hancock, who called the meeting ‘very positive’.
“I was pleased to receive full assurances that traffic will not be routed through Brandon during the building phase any more than it is now,” he said.
Mr Hancock, whose constituency also includes Elveden, through which the A11 passes, was also pleased with confirmation that the Highways Agency will build underpasses to a height of 3.4m, meaning horse riders will not have to dismount when crossing the busy road.
Bryan Freemantle, who attended on behalf of the British Horse Society, said the agency’s decision on underpasses was welcomed, but maintained that it had wasted taxpayers’ money by ignoring the group’s initial recommendations.
Cllr McGregor agreed that the meeting was positive. He added that he would be doing his best to ensure Elveden retained ‘a village feel’ once the work had been completed.
Work on the road is expected to begin this year.