South of Thickthorn (revisited yet again)
We got stuck at Elveden again on the way to London to see the folks for Christmas.
I couldn't believe it! It was the middle of the day on a Saturday, December 28th. I kept thinking, “Where are all these idiots going?” (Maybe they were all going to London to see relatives?)
Anyway, being stuck in the jam gave me another opportunity to mull over the progress (or more precisely the lack of progress) of the last bit of dual carriageway to be built, including the Elveden by-pass – opening Winter 2014. Or, if you prefer, another year away.
Snaking along at the pace of a snail with a limp, gives one plenty of time to consider this major road building project. Well, it's a major project if you consider 9 miles of road-building with one small stream to cross a major project. In their defence I must point out that they are taking four years to do it. That alone probably qualifies it as a major project.
One thing I discovered was that they are building at least two fantastically placed devices for the farmers to get from one side of the road to the other. One looks like the Hammersmith fly-over and the other is a very good impersonation of the Dartford tunnel.
Hang on, when the road is completed it's obvious that the farm equipment needs to get from one side to another. Doesn't it?
Wait a minute – the A11 has been struggling through Elveden for a long time – a really long time – like forever. So, I thought, how have the farmers been getting from one side to another in all the years it has been there? I can find no information to this rather puzzling question.
Then I considered other options for the farmer (and ones which might suit the tax-payer more).
First – the geniuses that thought this one up spent a long time building what they called access roads for the farms. In other words, they build nice paved sections a few hundred yards wide of the carriageways so the tractors and such can meander up an down gaining access to the fields.
Wait a minute - how did they access the fields before? I can find no information to this rather puzzling question either.
I have a brilliant solution to this costly problem. At the Thetford end (West side) we build the farmer a nice big storage shed and populate it with all his present machinery. Then at the Barton Mills end (East side) we build another nice big storage shed and populate it with duplicates of everything on the Thetford side – all at the tax-payers expense.
When the day's work begins, the farm workers only have to decide which side of the A 11 they are working on and go to the appropriate shed, collect their equipment and do what farmers do. (If they need to do some work on one side and then move to the other side we have even provided them with a nice new dual carriageway to get from one storage shed to the other) How good is that! And the cost is minuscule compared to the cost of the road – which by the way has escalated from the 30 million original estimate to 110 million.
Brilliant or what!
Whoever planned this project must have learned engineering at the Lego factory and project management at the University of Malawi.
What we have now is a completed bridge at the Barton Mills end, some sections of dual carriageway that are completed (but not joined up) and a bypass around Elveden which may or may not be ready (you cannot tell from the roadway and they won't let you tramp about the countryside to find out).
Here's another plan – a bit too late I readily admit.
First, build the bypass around Elveden first. Then build the one-mile section to join this up to the Thetford end. Then build the rest of the road south of Elveden.
Result? You get around the bottleneck at Elveden before you encounter any hold-up at all.
Make sense? I thought you might agree with me.
Oh yeah, and then think about building poxy little access roads for farmers. In the meantime they can jolly well wait for four years like the rest of us chumps.