Graham Turner: The earth moved and so has my opinion of A11 dualling project

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A trip to the north Norfolk coast last week took us up the A11 and along the stretch between Barton Mills and Thetford now being ‘dualled’.

We travel along this part of the road at most once a month so, like a young relative you only see on birthdays or at Christmas, we really notice changes and the progress of the project.

And though work has only been under way for three or four months, there’s now a real sense of the scale of this £128 million scheme.

I have to admit that when I first saw the trees being cut down to make way for the new carriageways I felt a slight sense of outrage, it didn’t quite seem right that the countryside should make way for yet more cars – even though we’ve been caught many times in the logjam of traffic that builds up here on a daily basis.

However, my anger has since softened and it has been replaced by an almost boyish delight in seeing the huge earthmovers at work. To me, it’s astounding that these huge machines are capable of such precise engineering.

As you drive along the route now, there are clear signs of where an underpass will go, mounds are being created for a flyover and giant areas for roundabouts have been cleared.

I think I might be a little disappointed when the road is finished and it becomes just another dreary stretch of dual-carriageway which gets you from A to B is the shortest possible time.

Last week, the Bury Free Press carried a story appealing for drivers to stick to the 40mph speed limit through the roadworks, which though laudable and essential for the safety of the folk working on the roadside, also made me smile because, ironically, since the limit came into effect, we’ve not been held up once on this stretch.

We’ve probably just been lucky, but perhaps that was the answer all the time, a simple 40mph limit!

>>I was really pleased to see stroke victim Andrew Marr back on the TV on Sunday morning, if only for a brief item. In the battle for TV rights in the Turner household it’s the one programme I insist on watching.

But he was pushing an open door here with his warning about ‘high-intensity exercise’ – it’s probably advice I would have given him, had he asked.