Public set for say over final plans for multi-million pound revamp of Thickthorn roundabout

The Thickthorn roundabout on the edge of Norwich. Pic: Highways England.

The Thickthorn roundabout on the edge of Norwich. Pic: Highways England. - Credit: Highways England

Final details of the multi-million pound scheme to transform one of the busiest junctions in Norfolk will soon be revealed - and highways bosses hope to seek planning permission before the year is out.

Martin Wilby, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Martin Wilby, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Changes to the Thickthorn roundabout, on the edge of Norwich, are a key part of a £300m package of improvement work on the A47.

The work could cost £50m and could go on for two years. It is not yet clear how traffic would be managed while work is done.

Highways England put forward preferred routes in 2017. Their proposals included new link roads connecting the A11 south to the A47 east via underpasses and a direct link from the A47 westbound to the A11 southbound.

But they acknowledged they needed to find a solution to deal with fears about potential rat-running in Cantley Lane South, so put forward two options

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Suggested solutions included a new bridge over the A11, connecting Cantley Lane South to the B1172 in Hethersett, or a new link road with an underpass beneath the A47, connecting Cantley Lane South with the Round House Roundabout at Cringleford.

Consultation was meant to take place a year ago, but was postponed while detailed designs were drawn up, but the public will get their say on the new designs from Monday, June 3.

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A spokesman for Highways England said: "We are making good progress on our plans for improving the A11 - A47 Thickthorn Interchange.

"Since the last public consultation in 2017 we have been updating our proposals with people's feedback and we expect to launch a new six-week consultation soon on the very latest proposals.

"The consultation will run for six weeks and will include a number of events in and around Norwich to give people a further opportunity to help shape our plans before we seek planning consent later this year."

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: "I very much welcome this consultation. We need to be cracking on with work at Thickthorn, and on the rest of the A47, as it's been held up for too long already."

If permission is granted by the Planning Inspectorate, then work could start in 2021, with the new scheme open in 2023.

What else is happening with the A47?

The other schemes which form part of the £300m work on the A47 are:

- Creating a new dual carriageway section between North Tuddenham and Easton

- Creating a dualled section between Blofield and North Burlingham

- Making improvements to both the Vauxhall and Gapton junctions in Great Yarmouth

- Blofield to North Burlingham dualling

However, the EDP, in association with Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce is, has been calling for the whole of the A47 to be dualled, through our Let's Dual It! campaign.

Politicians and business leaders from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are due to unite in London later this month - to compel the government to commit to further improvements.

More than 2,000 people filled in postcards, given away with this newspaper, to lend their backing for the campaign.

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