A fresh drive to get improvements made to the A47 will be launched today, with experts saying the problem-ridden key road acts as brake on the county’s economy.

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A new business case claims investment in the road could create 10,000 jobs within 20 years and bring Norfolk a yearly economic boost of £390m.

Dualling the entire 105-mile road would, say consultants commissioned by Norfolk County Council, lead to a 30-minute reduction in journey times along the length of the road from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth.

But, rather than calling for the whole road to be dualled, the plan identifies specific pinch-points which consultants say could be targeted for improvements.

They include:

Dualling the Acle Straight;

Dualling the North Tuddenham to Easton stretch to the west of Norwich;

Dualling the Blofield to Burlingham stretch;

Creating a third river crossing at Great Yarmouth;

Making improvements to the Pullover junction, the Saddlebow junction, plus the Hardwick junction at King’s Lynn.

Work at those and other pinch-points would, according to consultants Mott MacDonald, help bring in a further £800m of private investment, while helping the county shed its reputation for being difficult to reach.

The report states: “In short, as it is currently operating, the A47 is at best a brake on the economic growth for the whole county, including parts of Cambridgeshire. At worst it hinders investment, adds to business and commuter costs, causes disproportionate accident and safety issues, and contributes to the ‘peripheral’ image of the county.”

Norfolk MPs, county councillors and representatives from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will head to Westminster on Monday to present the case for cash for those improvements to transport minister Stephen Hammond.

Graham Plant, county council cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: “The coalition has launched a number of initiatives which suggest there is capital funding around, so long as projects are shovel-ready.

“We have been looking at the A47 for so long that we think there are some elements of it which are pretty much ready to go and which we can show would bring economic benefits.

“I’m optimistic the government will listen to us, because we have got the figures which show those economic benefits. We have got the businesses, the LEP and the MPs behind us.”

Businesses have been invited to today’s launch at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey, where the business case, and a new A47 Gateway to Growth prospectus will be unveiled.

Speakers at the event will include Mr Plant, Mike Jackson, the county council’s director of environment, transport and development, Broadland MP Keith Simpson, the MP representative on the A47 Alliance, and Davina Tanner, from the New Anglia LEP. To mark the event, Mr Simpson will drive the A47 from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth in his Union Flag Mini.

He will be accompanied by county council staff who will be making a video record and Tweeting from the car using social media website Twitter, as the journey progresses.

The A47 is a trunk road, and as such is the responsibility of the Highways Agency, rather than the county council, so it is up to the government as to whether it is improved or not.

However, the county council believes it could bring in about £110m of local funding to help make improvements.

Today we’ll be hosting a day of debate on this issue on our website with live coverage of Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson’s bid to drive along the A47 from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth in his Union Jack Mini.

7 comments

  • So why stop traffic for this censors and more importantly why SHUT it off completely at night at BlofieldBrundall with NO diversion setup at all. NCC are an absolute disgrace with there management of this road this week. I would love to see Mr Simpson get from Acle to Norwich at night following the great non-existing diversion signs that was put in place at Blofield. When I asked a highway worker why no diversion signs I was told because Atkins don't wont to get blamed for when HGV's get stuck in Brundall and its all because the council have not planned it right!

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    dpc

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • Quote “The A47 is, at best, a brake on the economic growth for the whole county.” What utter rubbish, I agree the the A47 needs improvements but from a safety aspect and nothing else.

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    John L Norton

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • John that is a bit blinkered. Look at the A47 from the perspective of a business thinking of moving to Norfolk or of one trading from Norfolk. The slower and more congested a road the slower your haulage and the more time your staff and vehicles are in use surely? Have you never sat behind a stream of lorries from Swaffham all the way to Lynn at 40mph?

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • A third river crossing at Yarmouth is the work of the minds of fools-look at the satellite maps on google anyone and ask just where is a bridge going to take people? The spare ground for parking is not in the south of the town and much of the holiday trade goes to the campsites in the north not to b&bs in the town. All that needs doing to solve GYs problems is radically overhauling the roundabouts at Breydon Bridge Gapton and Harfreys and separating the shopper traffic from through traffic. A very strict traffic survey over a year should be taken to see just how little traffic comes any distance up the A12 for commercial reasons and needs to get into the Port area. Apart from that there is no reason for anyone coming up the A12 to go into the south of GY because it then only has to disperse on residential roads and to get out of GY it still would have to pass the bottle necks of the Breydon and Bure Bridges and Lawn Avenue. This is a product of the same thinking that built the outer harbour. I hope all the sane people overseeing this campaign for road improvements realise the folly a third crossing - the money could improve so much elsewhere..

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • Daisy I don't think it's blinkered at all, what business in their right mind, other than the short term, relatively small scale wind farm operations would move to Norfolk? You suggest looking at maps to see where a third river crossing at Yarmouth would take you. Well may I suggest you take another look at that map but over a wider area, yes it’s the same for most of Norfolk, we are out on a limb and any self- respecting business which relies on transport to a larger extent and has plans for growth wouldn’t touch this place with a barge pool, it just doesn’t make good sound economic sense, given the current and increasing cost transportation. You only have to look at the big businesses that have left Norfolk over the years, for this very reason alone. Norfolk is a backwater and will remain a backwater due to its geographical position and no amount of road improvements will ever change that.

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    John L Norton

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • "Dualling the Blofield to Burlingham stretch" - probably the most dangerous 2 miles of road I've ever been on, particularly the death trap crossing from S Walsham to Lingwood. Get it sorted.

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    Mylen1um

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • You make a valid point John, but what about existing businesses within the eastern region-stretching the boundaries as far as Peterborough,Cambridge and Kesteven and the heavy local traffic between regional centres? Look at the times you see for instance a Pilgrim foods lorry delivering in the Yarmouth area- from Boston, or Mason Bros. or Jack Richards lorries all over the place, Norfolk lorries plugging their way up to Newark and Peterborough and down through Lincolnshire carrying the fertiliser which comes in to Humberside ports.Improving our roads would help these local hauliers and the businesses they serve. I concede that it is difficult to be objective about just how much traffic our roads carry in comparison with those in areas which have received funding for new roads over the decades-a narrow twisting road where traffic is at 40 mph behind a Tesco lorry can seem busier than it really is. I envy for instance the extent of and obvious spending on the road network in the East Sussex area, but their traffic movements must be higher than to the east coast and Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, November 23, 2012

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