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‘We don’t know where the express lane will leave the road, how short it will be and where it will rejoin.’ Confusion surrounds £1.3m A47 Norfolk revamp

PUBLISHED: 08:56 09 October 2012 | UPDATED: 09:11 10 October 2012

Honingham expressway map

Honingham expressway map

Archant

A road campaigner is “astonished” after the Highways Agency (HA) revealed there are no definitive plans for a £1.3m expressway around the A47 Honingham roundabout.

The HA funding to upgrade the road, which is a “pinch-point” between Dereham and Norwich, was announced on Sunday by prime minister David Cameron ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

It is part of a £170m package of road improvements across the country.

But an HA spokesman said yesterday detailed plans for the eastbound bypass had not yet been drawn up and it was not yet known where the road would leave and rejoin the A47.

He said money for the expressway had been released to ease “significant congestion” for traffic travelling towards Norwich during peak times.

The spokesman added: “We recognise there is a pinch-point on the roundabout and motorists are using villages as a rat run. Detailed designs are going to be undertaken.

“We don’t know where the express lane will leave the road, how short it will be and where it will rejoin.

“Traffic will be able to use the roundabout as usual and traffic from the express lane will merge onto the A47.”

But yesterday, Hockering parish councillor Richard Hawker said he was “absolutely astonished” plans were not available.

The EDP has seen a design of the proposed express lane in a 2010 Highways Agency report.

It shows a slip road off the single-carriage A47, which runs parallel to the road.

Mr Hawker added: “It doesn’t make sense to me.

“There were tailbacks before the roundabout was built. We had tailbacks from the Easton roundabout. We are never going to get nirvana with the free flow of traffic.

“This (the Honingham roundabout) is a junction and if you allow people to join, there is going to be a hold-up.

“They want to spend £1.3m - give me £1.3m and I could solve a lot of Hockering’s A47 problems.”

The roundabout was completed in February 2009 - there was previously a T-junction where drivers could turn off for Honigham and Mattishall.

Mr Hawker said Hockering residents have been campaigning for a safer junction at the Wood Lane and Berry’s Lane junctions, between Honingham and Hockering, since before the roundabout was built.

It was changed after Norfolk coroner William Armstrong demanded safety improvements in 2006, following three fatal crashes in five years.

One of these victims was David Jackson, 19, from Mattishall, who died in October 2005.

Traffic lights were introduced to the road leading up to the roundabout from Honingham last year to reduce motorists using the villages around the A47 as a rat-run.

Mr Hawker said the lights have improved the congestion and the express lane is not “value for money”.

Chairman of Honingham parish council Brian Winchester said the bypass would create more difficulties.

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