A47 study date raises hopes for autumn cash

Traffic queues on the A47 approaching King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop.

Traffic queues on the A47 approaching King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop. - Credit: Archant

Hopes have been raised that an announcement could be made this autumn over whether millions of pounds will be spent to improve the A47 in Norfolk.

Campaigners have long demanded improvements to the 105-mile road and those calls have recently intensified following a number of fatal crashes along the route.

While the A47 Alliance – made up of council leaders and representatives – would ideally want investment to dual the whole trunk road, it is proposing targeted investment of £127m in 2014 to 2017, a further £247m by 2021, and £425m in the longer term (after 2021).

They launched an A47 Gateway to Growth prospectus in 2012, outlining how £500m would pay for a string of improvements to the road.

They said that would boost economic output by £390m a year, bring in millions of pounds in private investment, create thousands of new jobs and cut journey times.

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The Highways Agency – which is responsible for the road – is currently working on a feasibility study to calculate if upgrading the road would be good value for money. Their study will also consider the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The feasibility study scoping document was published yesterday, which revealed the study could be completed by autumn.

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Earlier this year, prime minister David Cameron said the A47 was crucial, but would not confirm if money for its improvement would be in the autumn statement.

But campaigners hope the timetable for completion could mean an announcement on the road will be made in that statement, which is effectively a mini-budget.

David Harrison, cabinet member for environment, transport and development at Norfolk County Council and A47 Alliance chairman, said: 'The timetable is rightly ambitious but we and our partners have already done considerable work looking at the benefits of dualling the road and look forward to working with the Highways Agency to highlight how improvements can be delivered, with the right investment.

'We are hopeful that the timetable will allow a positive announcement to be made in the autumn statement.'

How important is it to you that the A47 is improved and why? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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