County transport chiefs are seeking a meeting with the new roads minister to push the long-term goal of dualling the Acle Straight further up the political agenda.

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The economic justifications for improving the whole of the A47 were laid out early this year in a consultant’s report which estimated that it could contribute almost 10,000 Norfolk jobs and £390m a year to the East Anglian economy.

But the report, commissioned by Norfolk County Council, also said £200m of investment was needed to fix bottlenecks at junctions around King’s Lynn and Norwich – and to widen the single-lane Acle Straight.

Last week, the Campaign for Better Transport included the dualling of the stretch on its published map of so-called “zombie roads” – projects which had been presumed dead, but had been “revived” by local authorities and business partnerships.

Norfolk County Council says the scheme remains a long-term ambition, and a meeting is being sought with roads minister Stephen Hammond, who replaced Mike Penning after last month’s cabinet reshuffle.

Meanwhile, the council is focusing on improvements at pinch-points and under-capacity junctions like Postwick outside Norwich and the Vauxhall roundabout in Great Yarmouth.

John Birchall, a transport spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: “The Acle Straight has a very long history and we are very keen to bring it up the agenda in terms of priority.

“In real terms the dualling of the A47 remains a long-term ambition, but higher priority is going to be given to dealing with some of the pinch-points like the Vauxhall Roundabout, which are more important in terms of the traffic flow on the Acle Straight.

“There are a number of other junctions like Postwick and Longwater. We are talking about targeted improvements bringing real economic benefits. That is the realistic approach which is being adopted.

“At the end of the day, we recognise that the A47 needs to be dualled all the way from Great Yarmouth to the A1, but a lot can be achieved before then by dealing with these pinch-points and under-capacity junctions.”

Mr Birchall said although targeted improvements planned at junctions could bring significant benefits, any final decisions about the dualling of the road would rest with the Highways Agency.

“At the end of the day, the A47 is a trunk road, so all we can do is encourage and contribute with junction improvements,” he said. “It is the Highways Agency and the government that will decide what to do to improve the trunk network. We are hoping to raise it with the new transport minister some time later in the autumn, and that discussion will include all these things.

“We are actively trying to raise the profile of the importance of the A47, both for its transport significance and its importance for Norfolk’s economy.”

7 comments

  • BG is right. Whilst the slow pace of lorries and agricultural vehicles halts progress to well below the 60mph limit at times, and those who cannot patiently wait and overtake into the path of oncoming traffic, the real problem for the Acle Straight is the backing up of traffic trying to turn right across the bridge. Dual the road and you are faced with the same problem. The capacity of the junctions to exit the road is the real issue.

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    DT

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Any dueling of the A47 can only be done if the gnomes of Brussels say so. Top post dragonfly...ingo bit slow old bean, I highlighted Iceland's recovery last month and some tried to trivialize it, as it's built on fish and heat,plus a tiny population of peeps....big up for the cod eaters and long may they keep out of the EU failed club.

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    nrg

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • When the Breydon Bridge was built it was pretty obvious that the roundabout should have been on the site of the Runham Vauxhall Allotments rather than at the high point immediately next to the bridge. There was plenty of space then for slip roads taking north bound traffic away from the roundabout and for traffic to flow smoothly-that 90 degree narrow left turn from the Yarmouth side over the bridge is a traffic stopper, as is the poor visibilty on the round about in general. It makes life miserable for those who live in the northern villages and need to access the essential services located in the south of the borough and grid locks the town. The same criticism can be levelled at the Postwick junctions. What moron put the second tiny diificult to manoeuvre roundabout in as part of the business park? There was plenty of room for large roundabouts which traffic could flow around easily-even if they did then bottle neck at the railway bridge. As for newts-every day in the fens drainage ditches are dug out- a few small fish perish but amphibians make their way back to the water and the drains teem with life despite regular maintenance-the opposition on the basis of the environment is a bit weak-a second lane would make little difference.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • The area has an unique ecology which has become of greater value in the public mind than being able to get to Yarmouth by road a few minutes earlier.A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out,particularly as the proposal may threaten endangered species which are only indigenous to the Broads.Previous claims of boosting economic growth were full of holes, as BG has implied, so a new economic case would have to be made and re-scrutinised. Any proposal to dual the Acle straight is guaranteed to cause protests to prevent the bulldozers destroying a unique part of our planet.Investment in rail,for passengers and freight,presents an alternative which also requires current study and environmental tourism could be better developed.This proposal would threaten the goose that lays all these golden eggs.Only a highly centralised and dictatorial group of Tories would think otherwise.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • We have been talking about this forever . This should have been finished before the Outer Harbour was built . It could be done relatively cheaply because there is virtually nothing in the way . The only drawback is the newt-lovers who worry about wildlife living in the ditches . The brutal truth is that it will never happen . When the Boom Years gave all of Europe wonderful roads and bridges , we were left behind , and it will ever be thus . We just paid for other peoples infrastructure , through our taxes .

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    dragonfly

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Unless a great deal of money is spent building a slip road off the A47 at Yarmouth to Caister and traffic travelling to Gorleston, is similarly diverted away from the Vauxhall Roundabout, dualling the A47 will only result in Gt Yarmouth having the biggest car park in the East.

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    BG

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • yesterday we learnt that another large employer is shutting down making over 200 redundant, as the coalitions recovery plan is stopped by the failure of the banks to reform themselves and use the QE cash to invest in companies, rather than sit on our liquid assets. Iceland's message is crass, but healthy, their economy is coming back into the black, because they've taken on the banks. The dualling of the Acle straight, a potential flood plain in 50 years, makes no economic sense without a ferry service to the continent. Its not our markets that are improving, but the EU's, our recovery is hitched to that of Europe and the more this coalition removes itself from the centre of current debates and discussions on the future of Europe, the more they will realise that a free market is not a given in the future, that we have to work for this and be at the negotiation table. This is either wishful thinking or desperation.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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