South of Thickthorn – the Finale
Well, despite all the years of frustrated queuing, the millions of pounds of wasted money, the disillusionment of the masses and the crazy delays down the final stretch, the Thetford to Five Ways dualling on the A11 finally opened.
Whoopee do dah!
I tested it. From Thickthorn to the M25 in an hour and a half, and I don't drive very fast. Gone is the feeling of absolute dread as you approach Elveden (now a pleasant diversion from the new carriageway with quaint shops and eateries); gone is the steam from the bonnet of your over-heating vehicle, gone is the possibility of dying of thirst before you get to Five Ways roundabout.
All, of course, is not entirely rosy in the garden. I was thinking that the roundabouts at either end might get clogged up with folks tearing down the road to get queue to go around and around purposefully. So, far this has not happened. But, I'm not entirely sure it's all plain sailing. Time will tell.
Then there is the money. And, I mean a colossal amount of it. Will it be worth it? Will Keith Skipper have a heart attack at the thought of the hordes descending on rural Norfolk? Time will tell.
Let's enjoy it while we can and get ready for the fiasco that is the NDR. It's coming to a village near you, so keep an eye out for it!
For those not in the know, the NDR (Northern Distributor Road) is Norwich's answer to the M25 – well not quite. The M25 is circular. It scribes a complete circle around the capital. The NDR will not do the same for Norwich.
We already have the Southern Bypass which takes traffic from Postwick to Easton. The plan is to build the NDR going north from Postwick via Plumstead, Rackheath, Hellesdon and join the Drayton Road. This is, then, a 2/3 NDR M25-look-a-like for there will be no joining up at Easton.
Reason? Can't cross the Wensum valley – a site of special scientific interest.
Cars will pile north to Drayton and then somehow rat-run themselves back to the A47 at Easton.