‘Just dual it!’ - campaign will push government to pledge more cash for A47
- Credit: Nick Butcher
'Just Dual It!' - that will be the hard-hitting message from Norfolk today at the launch of a new campaign to put pressure on the government to pump millions more into the A47.
Just 47 per cent of one of the most important roads in the region is dual carriageway and while £300m of improvements are in the pipeline, only eight further miles will be dualled.
There are no current plans to dual other sections, such as the Acle Straight near Great Yarmouth or between Tilney and East Winch to the west of the county.
Today, transport minister Jesse Norman will be told just how crucial it is that the whole of the 115-mile road, which runs from just past Peterborough and across the breadth of Norfolk to Lowestoft in the east, is dualled.
MPs, business leaders and councillors will attend the event in King's Lynn, organised by the A47 Alliance.
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The 'Just Dual It!' campaign, spearheaded by this newspaper, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, will be launched at the event.
The aim is to put full dualling, which would cost an estimated £1.4bn, at the forefront of government thinking when it comes to investment in major road schemes between 2020 and 2025.
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There are concerns an initial report by Highways England into investment does not flag up the Acle Straight and the west Norfolk stretch as anything other than standard trunk roads.
The argument to government will be that further A47 improvements will bring significant benefits.
The campaign will make the case that shorter and more reliable journey times along the road and onwards to the Midlands would not only improve quality of life but provide a huge boost to the regional economy.
That would attract new businesses, support existing businesses to grow and become more profitable, encourage more visitors to the region and create more jobs. With 180 deaths and serious injuries on the A47 between 2011 and 2015 - and a number of tragedies this year - calls will also be made to make the junctions safer.
And our readers are being urged to lend their support for the campaign, by sharing experiences of issues with the A47 and filling in Freepost postcards which will be given away with our sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press.
Support for campaign
Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: 'The new 'Just Dual It!' campaign will highlight how vital the need for further improvements along the A47 really is.
'It is already evident that poor infrastructure is restricting business growth in Norfolk.
'Improvements along this significant trunk road will help every sector of the business community across the whole county and will enable them to deliver greater economic growth and jobs for our region.'
• Cliff Jordan, Norfolk County Council leader, said: 'There can be few of us who haven't sat frustrated in traffic on the single carriageway stretches, losing time and, in some instances, money as journeys take significantly longer than they should.
'We appreciate the investment the government has already committed to improving the road but we now need them to go further and commit to dualling the whole of the A47.'
• Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: 'There is an incredibly strong business case to dual the Acle Straight, which is further strengthened by the government's most welcome £98m commitment towards the Third River Crossing.
'We now call on the public – our businesses, residents and visitors – anyone who has ever travelled down the Acle Straight – to lend their voices and support this campaign by posting on social media and returning the special postcards.'
• David Powles, editor of the Eastern Daily Press, said: 'Victory in this campaign is vital to Norfolk and its people. A fully dualled A47 would be safer. It would make it easier for people to get in, out and around the county.
'And crucially, it would help to bring much needed investment to the county. It's essential that Norfolk continues to be seen as an attractive place to do business.'
• Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat group leader at Norfolk County Council, said: 'The current state of the A47 is a major factor in depressing the economic growth potential of the west of the county and needs to be improved.'
Terry Jermy, County Hall Labour group spokesperson for environment, development and transport said: 'We have demonstrated investment in infrastructure in Norfolk is key to unlocking the county's full economic potential and I would urge people to get behind efforts to dual the A47.'
How to get involved
Buy a copy of the Eastern Daily Press on Friday. Inside will be a Just Dual It! Freepost postcard for you to send your own message to the government about why you think the A47 needs to be fully-dualled as soon as possible
Pick up a Just Dual It! postcard from Friday from: our offices in Rouen Road; County Hall in Martineau Lane; Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in Whiting Road, Norwich; Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Town Hall or West Norfolk Council's offices in King's Lynn. Those postcards would not be Freepost and would need a stamp.
Tweet your support for the campaign using the hashtag #justdualit. If you include your full name and location in the tweet, we will transfer your message onto a postcard for you.
Write, outlining your experiences of using the A47 to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk