Hopes to avert “major disruption” to traffic during A47 dualling
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Strong warnings are today being sounded that one of the options for the long-awaited dualling of sections of the A47 would leave drivers facing major disruption.
Four possibilities are being put forward for improvement work on single-carriageway sections between Blofield and North Burlingham, and from North Tuddenham to Easton.
The move has raised hope that notorious accident blackspots will finally be made safe and journey times accelerated.
But Broadland District Council is expressing 'major reservations' over the option of carrying out construction on the existing carriageways.
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In a consultation response going before its cabinet next week, the council gives firm support to the improvement work to the east and west of Norwich.
But it is expected to urge Highways England to choose options to divert the route of the A47 so the existing carriageway can remain in use during construction.
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Chris Harrison, for Blofield, said it was 'essential' work is done. 'I think people have not really considered what the impact of disruption will be. As it gets closer it will become a bigger issue.
'The timings are obviously critical. At certain times of year having the road dug up will be particularly disruptive, but I do not think that could be a reason not to do it. That stretch of road is particularly dangerous and the bottlenecks are worse than ever before.'
David Ward, for Burlingham, said dualling the existing carriageway was 'out of the question'. 'That would cause major disruption to traffic.'
'It has got to happen, and it has got to happen sooner rather than later. I can see more accidents and incidents occurring very soon, and there is a massive build up on that stretch of road. I hope that common sense prevails and an option is picked that is not going to impede traffic.'
David Cumming, principal infrastructure and growth planner for Norfolk County Council and member of the A47 Alliance, said 'We will want to work further with Highways England to make sure any delays are minimised.
'People always use the phrase you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and for the long term benefits we are going to have to put up with some disruption.'
Work will not begin until 2020
The £300m programme to upgrade the A47 was announced in the run up to last year's general election.
Plans locally include:
• A47 dualling from North Tuddenham to Easton;
• A47 dualling from Blofield to North Burlingham;
• A47/A12 Great Yarmouth junction improvements, including reconstruction of the Vauxhall roundabout;
• A47/A11 Thickthorn junction improvement to the interchange to give improved access to Norwich;
Highways England has previously said it would hold a public consultation on the options for the route by the end of this year with its plans set to be unveiled next year, but work is not due to start until 2020 and may not be completed until 2023.
The government has insisted the scheme is on track, despite documents which show it is one of a raft of road schemes promised before the election under review.