1. ITV Report

How the A11 used to be in the 1970s

An old section of the A11 running through the Essex village of Newport in 1975. Photo: Anglia Television

The final section of road to complete the A11 dual carriageway between London and Norwich has opened. It's taken more than 40 years to finish the job.

The A11 is the historic highway between the capital in East Anglia with many of the original sections running along former Roman roads.

Before the motor car and road numbering after the First World War, it was the main coaching route for two centuries and notorious for highwaymen in the Epping Forest area of Essex.

Queues on the old A11 as it passes through Stansted Mountfitchet in the 1970s. Credit: Anglia Television

It has slowly been dualled along its entire length bit-by-bit over the year. Some places have had been be bypassed twice.

Wymondham in Norfolk had a single-carriageway bypass started in 1958 and only completed in 1971. The dual-lane bypass followed in the mid-1990s.

The first section of the M11 to open in 1975 replaced some parts of the A11. Credit: Anglia Television

One of the early sections of A11 to be bypassed was when the first section of the M11 opening in 1975 linking Harlow to Birchanger near Stansted Airport.

That mean relief for towns and villages along the old A11 in Essex where traffic jams regularly built up and there were road safety concerns.

The first section of the M11 was between Harlow and Birchanger in Essex Credit: Anglia Television

In 1975, the Anglia Television news programme, About Anglia, took roads campaigner David Pollard for a drive along the old A11 just as the new M11 was about to open.

In the film, which you can see below, he highlights some of the road building issues which seem to be as true now as they were nearly 40 years ago.

The last section of dual carriageway to open on Friday 12 December 2014 was nine miles from the Fiveways roundabout near Mildenhall in Suffolk to Thetford in Norfolk.

It cost £130 million and according to the Highways Agency will bring a boost to the economy, reduce congestion and improve road safety.

The road now bypasses the village of Elveden in Suffolk which was a significant bottleneck with regular long traffic jams building up.

An old section of the A11 through the village of Littlebury in Essex in the 1970s. Credit: Anglia Television

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