Fight for full dualling of A47 through Norfolk to be taken to Westminster
- Credit: Archant
Pressure will be heaped on the government today to pledge to fully dual the A47, with a delegation from the region heading to Westminster to make the case for a multi-million pound commitment.
Politicians and business leaders from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are heading to London to compel the government to make upgrades to a road which they say is crucial for the region's economic prosperity.
And thousands of postcards, filled in by readers of this newspaper in support of full dualling, will be a key part of the message which will be delivered to transport minister Michael Ellis.
The Eastern Daily Press, Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce last year launched the Just Dual It! campaign, calling for the funding to fully dual the road.
More than 2,000 people filled in postcards, given away with this newspaper, to lend their backing for the campaign and a selection of the comments people wrote on the postcards will be screened at the meeting.
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The A47 parliamentary reception at Westminster will be hosted by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis on behalf of the A47 Alliance.
This autumn, the Department for Transport is expected to announce which trunk roads will get money from its Road Investment Strategy funding pot, for improvements to be carried out between 2020 and 2025.
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Keen to ensure the A47 is included in that announcement, the A47 Alliance has gathered evidence to demonstrate the need for upgrades to the major east-west route, which runs from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth on the east coast to the A1 at Peterborough.
The A47 Alliance is calling for a funding commitment for full dualling by 2030 and to prioritise upgrading three sections by 2025:
- The Acle Straight in Norfolk
- Tilney to East Winch (including Hardwick flyover) in Norfolk
- Peterborough to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire
Martin Wilby, chairman of the A47 Alliance and cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: "Getting this investment in the A47 is so important to Norfolk and the wider region. Anyone who uses the road knows the frustration of sitting in queueing traffic or being held up behind a slow-moving vehicle.
"We need further dualling of this major east-west route to shorten journey times and reduce delays, improve road safety and make the East of England a better, more attractive place to run a business.
"We've got fantastic support from across the region and have gathered strong evidence of the benefits this investment will create, so I'm optimistic that Department for Transport Ministers will agree that improvements to the A47 need to be funded as a priority."