Residents fear no A47 crossing will mean five mile detour
PUBLISHED: 17:17 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 10 September 2018
A crossing from Burlingham to Lingwood over the proposed A47 dual carriageway between Blofield and North Burlingham has not been included in plans for the road, prompting concerns from residents they will face a five-mile detour.
Chairman of Burlingham Cottage Gardeners Chris Gates has said that Highways England, the company responsible for operating England’s motorways and major A roads, is “resolutely refusing” to incorporate the crossing.
At the launch in the Forum in Norwich yesterday of public consultations on the future of the 1.6 mile section of the A47, project manager Lizzie Cooper said that while Highways England is still looking into the possibility of a crossing, surveys of the area revealed that not many people cross the road there.
“It was hard to justify a crossing,” she said, adding that the cost of a bridge meant a lot of people would need to be using it.
According to Mr Gates, 600 people have signed a petition stating that, “if an A47 crossing was provided and a footpath extension built towards Acle, I would use them”.
He said that residents who commute by foot or bike across the A47 will be forced into a five mile detour to get to work.
The dispute has arisen out of proposals for the road, about which the public has been invited to share opinions.
Claudia Wegener, senior project manager with Highways England, has urged local residents to share their views on the specifics of the route.
The new dual carriageway will be built around 70 metres south of the existing A47, with the present length of the A47 retained as a local access route. Also included in the design is a new junction at the western end of the road, where it is proposed there will be an overbridge connecting Blofield to the current A47, as well as a pedestrian path. Another new junction is mooted for the eastern end, connecting with the B1140.
Ms Cooper said the benefits of the new road will be an up to four minute reduction in journey time, better accessibility for local residents and a 75% reduction in accidents expected by 2037.
The dual carriageway is expected to open for traffic in winter 2022.
Members of the public can take part in the consultation, which runs until midnight on Friday October 19, by visiting highwaysengland.co.uk/highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a47-blofield-to-north-burlingham/, by e-mailing a response to A47BlofieldtoNorthBurlinghamRIS@highwaysengland.co.uk, or by writing to FREEPOST A47 Blofield and North Burlingham.
There will also be four public events at which you can have your say and speak with members of the team. These will be at:
Castle Mall, 100 Castle Meadow, Norwich, NR1 3DD, on Saturday 15 September, from 11am to 5pm;
Acle Recreation Centre, Acle, Norwich, Norfolk, NR13 3RA on Saturday 22 September, from 11am to 5pm;
Blofield Courthouse, Yarmouth Road, Blofield, Norwich, NR13 4JU, on Monday 24 September, from 1pm to 8pm, and;
Lingwood Village Hall, Station Road, Lingwood, Norwich, NR13 4AZ, on Tuesday 25 September, from 1pm to 8pm.
Highways England have urged the public to share their opinions.
“We really do need feedback,” Ms Wagener said, “to provide the best possible outcome”.
In 2014, the government identified six sections along the 115-mile stretch of the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth as requiring investment. The plans include dualling three lengths of the road, as well as improving three junctions notorious for congestion.
Consultations on improvements to the stretch between Wansford and Sutton near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire will run from September 18 to October 29 and the A11 Thickthorn interchange at Norwich from October 5 to November 16.
Claudia Wagener, senior project manager at Highways England, said that other three projects had been “slowed due to optimization, but will come back on line next year”.
These are the sections between North Tuddenham and Easton, and the junctions with the A141 at Guyhirn and the Great Yarmouth junction.
The six projects are all part of the government’s £15 billion investment in England’s motorways and major A roads, with £3 billion of that being invested in the east of England.