Minister tells MPs the A47 and A12 upgrade is in the “premier league” of schemes he is looking at
17:14 11 February 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Roads minister Robert Goodwill has branded the A47 and A12 as being in the “premier league” of the big road schemes being considered for investment.
Following a Westminster meeting today, the region’s MPs said Mr Goodwill had told them the united front and the ground work of the A47 Alliance had helped put them with the top schemes being considered for Department for Transport investment.
The meeting gave new impetus to hopes significant investment in the route could be announced in the mini-budget later this year.
During the half hour slot with the politician in charge of Britain’s roads, the A47 Alliance steering group presented Mr Goodwill with the new eight-page ‘A47 Gateway to Growth’ business case for improvements.
And MPs told the transport minister they wanted a long term commitment to dual the main trunk road stretching from Lowestoft into Midlands.
The A47 was added to a shortlist of six schemes on which officials in Whitehall are drawing up a detailed business case.
While the A47 Alliance wants investment to dual the whole trunk road, it is proposing targeted investment of £127m in 2014 to 2017, a further £247m by 2021, and £425m in the longer term (after 2021).
Broadland MP Keith Simpson said “This is another step forward. (Robert Goodwill) said the A47 Alliance updated plan was one of the best of the group that had been put forward and it is going to be updated again.”
South-West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “We have to have a long term plan to dual the entire road. The A14 has got billions of pounds of investment, Norfolk is just as important and has had years of under-investment. I am keen to see the department costing up the entire route. It could be cheaper to do it in one go.”
Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: “We wanted to make clear to the minister that the A47 merits a comprehensive strategy for the whole route. While individual schemes and junction improvements will undoubtedly deliver benefits, the greatest growth could come from a joined up plan from Peterborough to Lowestoft.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We have launched a study which will consider how best to improve both the A47 and the A12 from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft as part of our commitment to identifying solutions to long-standing problems with this country’s road network.”
What do you think of the A47 improvement plans? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk