Monday, November 30, 2009

South of Thickthorn

Thickthorn Thickies!

Fantastic news! The plans to completely dual the A 11 are well and truly on the drawing board! Actually, they have been on the drawing board for the best part of the last 30 years.

Kindly stop muttering better late than never.

What I have found most enjoyable so far in the process is the splendid graphic produced by the EDP to illustrate what the new road would look like. Choosing the memorial between Thetford and Barton Mills as the focus, the view is truly spectacular as the road snakes relentlessly towards Thetford – disappearing in the distance with all the grace and aplomb of a rattlesnake retreating up a rhinoceroses bottom. Absolutely beautiful.

Thirty years late, but beautiful.

Would that all the news was quite so ascetically pleasing in the A 11 saga.

The EDP also kindly provided a map which shows the course of the new carriageway. Just like in the picture it follows the old carriageway for 9/10 if the way. The only new bit is the Elveden by-pass, for that is what it amounts to.

So, we need about 9 miles of new carriageway. We bypass Elveden allowing this Norfolk Sleepy Hollow to return to its pre-auto mobile-age tranquillity. So, what is required? One bridge (there is one stream to cross near the Barton Mills roundabout). Some new carriageway. Some kind of junction for the few minor roads encountered. That's about it.

The cost? About 127 million pounds. That's about 14 million pounds a mile. Perhaps the carriageway is to be gold and diamond encrusted? Maybe the bridge is to be built to withstand the ravages of nature for the next 2000 years?

Could someone please explain to me why it costs so much?

Perhaps it's because the same numpties who are planning this project are same ones who: firstly, decided that the original Thetford by-pass was to be single carriageway; secondly decided the same for the original Attleborough by-pass; thirdly were most likely in on the original designs for the Titanic!

Question. How much intelligence does it take to realise that if they had built the whole damn thing in one go it would have been finished 30 years and would have cost 10% of what they are trying to charge the poor old taxpayer today!

We should get the bulk of the money from those idiots.

I remember making the point when they finished the Roudham Heath section – which abuts the proposed extension. All the equipment was there and in place. The land is flat and dry. Why not just carry on and built? “Oh, no,” they cried, “we can't do that!” First we have to have a planning enquiry (the result of which everyone already knows); then, we have to carry out extensive tests on the soil for drainage and subsidence; then we need to consult local people.

Or, we could just dust off the plans that have been gaily mouldering in the cupboard for the last 25 years and submit them. But, no, that way we can't jack-up the costs.

It's a damn scandal.

Now, for the really good news. It the Tories win the next election, they may cancel the whole thing! Couldn't help themselves from bailing out the banks to the tune of umpteen billions, but they may need to save a few million by cancelling the A 11 project.

Yeah, right.

Saving the best bit for last, now someone has decided that if the road is dualled the Barton Mills roundabout will become a major bottleneck. What nonsense. There is already a roundabout at the Norwich end and three at Thetford and one at Attleborough. One more isn't going to make any difference!

But, wait, perhaps we can delay the project for another 40 years whilst we assess the roundabout situation!

Get on, just get on with it!

Sometimes you just have to laugh or you would cry.

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