Another transport minister wants to come and see the A47

Slow moving traffic on the A47 at Honingham after a multiple vehicle accident. Picture: DENISE BRADL

Slow moving traffic on the A47 at Honingham after a multiple vehicle accident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Another transport minister is set to visit the A47 as MPs push the government to speed up improvements to the route.

John Hayes, who is the latest minister to be put in charge of the project, told Sir Henry Bellingham he wanted to rendezvous at the road with the MP, Highways England and Department for Transport officials. A raft of ministers have been driven along the route by local MPs since they stepped-up lobbying efforts to secure funding for the key route from Great Yarmouth into the Midlands.

More than £300m was earmarked for improvements, including to dual three stretches of the road, before the last election, but Highways England has said diggers may not be in the ground until 2020.

A consultation about the plans for the road is due to begin next month.

Sir Henry, the MP for North-West Norfolk, raised the issue of the A47 in the House of Commons, telling ministers that the 1988 transport minister promised to dual the entire length of the route nearly 30 years ago.

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He asked Mr Hayes to 'give serious priority' to the six schemes which have been awarded funding, calling for the work to start as soon as possible.

Mr Hayes replied: 'There is indeed a series of schemes for improvements along the road, particularly in the parts where it could be dualled.'

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He added: 'I think that I should meet my honourable friend [Sir Henry] on the road, with representatives of Highways England and my officials, to look at the specificity of this, because I owe him and the House that at least.'

Speaker John Bercow quipped that he was 'sure that the image will be graphically captured for posterity'.

Highways England announced earlier this year that a public consultation would begin in March.

The plans include dualling between Wansford and Sutton, North Tuddenham and Easton and Blofield and North Burlingham; junction improvements at the A141 in Guyhirn, the A11 Thickthorn roundabout and at the A12 junction.

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