Pressure to be stepped up over start of work on A47 improvements

The Vauxhall Roundabout at Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

The Vauxhall Roundabout at Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Further pressure is to be applied over speeding up work on £300m of improvements to the A47, after county councillors raised fears the programme was in danger of delays.

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry - Credit: Archant

Furious MPs, councillors and business leaders last month accused Highways England for "going backwards", after it emerged key improvements to the A47 were facing delays.

Highways England said they need to look again at the designs for the Vauxhall and Gapton roundabouts at Great Yarmouth - because of the potential traffic impact from the mooted Third River Crossing.

That will delay work starting on improvements to those junctions, which are part of the government's £300m package for the A47. It was originally hoped work would start in 2018/19.

And county councillors are also concerned about the specifications for the A47 North Tuddenham to Easton dualling work, which could have implications for the connection to the mooted Western Link, which would join the A47 to the Norwich Northern Distributor Road.

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Norfolk County Council representatives will this week be meeting with Highways England at Westminster to press the importance of getting the pledged improvements done.

Those improvements include dualling the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham, along with junction improvements at the Thickthorn roundabout, which has recently been out for public consultation.

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Further west, at Peterborough, the work involves dualling a stretch between Wansford and Sutton, as well as improving the Guyhirn junction with the A141.

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, said: "The A47 Alliance met and had a real pop at Highways England.

"This was followed up by a meeting in Westminster.

"This week, we are meeting again in Westminster to chase up Highways England on getting some of these schemes off the ground, which were funded in 2014."

A regional delegation went to London last month to press for the full dualling of the A47 to be included in the next tranche of government funding.

It was part of the Just Dual It! campaign, backed by the EDP, the county council and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

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