Roads minister Robert Goodwill talks up A47 funding chances after driving the route

Roads minister Robert Goodwill during his drive along the route of the A47 by local MPs including Simon Wright, Richard Bacon and George Freeman to been shown the issues the road has.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Roads minister Robert Goodwill during his drive along the route of the A47 by local MPs including Simon Wright, Richard Bacon and George Freeman to been shown the issues the road has. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Annabelle Dickson annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk
Friday, July 4, 2014
5:59 PM

East Anglia’s A47 and A12 has reached the final of the competition for funds – but there will not be enough cash for everyone to get everything, roads minister Robert Goodwill has said.

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During a visit to East Anglia to see the key route from Lowestoft to Peterborough, the transport minister met members of the A47 Alliance – the campaigning organisation representing local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses and road users along the A47 and A12.

It is calling for £416 million of targeted improvements over the next six years, and a commitment to fully dual the A47 – estimated to cost £1.4bn – in the longer term. MPs, who each joined him on a stretch of the route, are calling for a pledge to build two lanes in each direction on the whole route to Peterborough.

Mr Goodwill said: “Certainly that is a long term aspiration. But what we need to decide is where the best place to start doing that would be. The money in the budget for the six big schemes is not enough to do all of all the schemes in the first six years.”

But he did say there would not be only one winner in the competition for funds.

The A47, and later the A12, was added to a list of feasibility studies being carried out by the Highways Agency, with a view to announcing funds in the Autumn Statement later this year.

The minister, who is the second minister in less than a year to drive the route, with his predecessor Stephen Hammond visiting last September, dismissed suggestions by political opponents that it was a waste of time and money for him to drive the route.

“I had a delegation (of MPs) to see me in my ministerial office – actually it was more like a lynch mob than a delegation – and they made it quite clear I must come and see this road and see for myself first-hand the problems that are here.”

“It is not one of those competitions where there is only one winner. What we need to do is see what we can do most cost effectively to address some of the congestion problems and unlock some of the economic benefits,” he said.

Toby Coke, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport Committee, said: “What we need is a firm commitment to fund the upgrading of the entire A47. The Government talks about infrastructure improvement, and it is needed here in Norfolk and our neighbouring counties now.”

5 comments

  • Electionaring hot air! The A47 needs dualling now! This is the third ministerial visit in recent years and once again more words but no action. The Norfolk Nine have blown it. Every time there is a vote on HS2 they have the perfect opportunity to vote no unless there is money for road improvements for Norfolk. They all vote yes for HS2, a project that will suck money away from the rest of the country as the costs double and increase on an ongoing basis. I will only believe there will be any improvements to the A47 when I see it.

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    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

  • Words, words, words and more words - how about some action!!

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    beverley

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Late news: Two cars have been involved in a crash on the A47 Acle Straight. Pity he wasn't involved as the message might have got through, but I doubt it.

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    Vic Sponge

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Yes, just what is the point of these politicians being driven along this road occasionally? One needs to use it daily to see just how bad it is. But so what does it matter if a few lives are lost on a regular basis on this road, when money can be pumped into a dead-end NDR for the benefits of developers who incidentally throw £millions at the main political parties, yes we know how it works.

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    Vic Sponge

    Friday, July 4, 2014

  • Yawn.... oh why are the conservatives filling this with airtime, an election methinks! I don't see any of them around the NDR, I wonder why?

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    Marigold

    Friday, July 4, 2014

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