WORK on the A11 will start next year, the Roads Minister has revealed.
MP Mike Penning announced in Parliament on Tuesday that the dualling of the final single carriageway stretch of the road between Barton Mills and Thetford will begin in 2012.
Development of the nine-mile stretch was announced alongside three other national projects set to commence next year.
Mr Penning said: “These schemes will deliver vital investment across the strategic road network, driving economic growth and boosting the UK economy.
“They will also provide much-needed additional capacity – easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for road users, including hauliers and commuters.”
Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in the October Comprehensive Spending Review that the Government would fund the A11 dualling.
But no announcement on when the work would begin had been made up until Tuesday – with some business groups and politicians urging progress.
Local Conservative MPs Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, and Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, were delighted with the news.
Mr Hancock said: “After many people over many decades have campaigned so hard for the dualling of the A11 it is fantastic to get a start date in the diary.
“Everyone across East Anglia knows how important this stretch of road is. Thanks to the improvements, millions of people will get home more quickly and safely than before.”
Ms Truss has campaigned for the work to take place alongside Mr Hancock since taking office in 2010.
She said: “This is great news for Norfolk and all the residents and businesses who struggle with the current congestion.
“This will drive growth and jobs in the county.”
Work on the stretch of road will include a new bypass and underpass near Elveden.
Mr Osborne has set aside £131 million for the scheme, with the Government expecting to make £17 for every pound spent on development.
Mr Penning added: “Transport provides the crucial links that allow people and businesses to prosper and we will continue to invest in schemes that reduce congestion and support economic growth.”