TORY CONFERENCE: A47 is “low hanging fruit” for government
The A47 is 'low hanging fruit' which the government can deliver on, transport minister Robert Goodwill has told delegates at the party's conference in Manchester.
Mr Goodwill told a fringe event in Birmingham that he hoped that the decisions being made about transport were not 'politicised' and that they could defend their priorities when it came to addressing congestion and road safety.
The minister, who came up to Norfolk earlier this year to drive along the trunk road spanning from Great Yarmouth into the Midlands, has hinted that funding could be announced for the route in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in December.
It is one of six roads which are being looked at in detail by the Highways Agency to assess the finer details of what can be done, and where.
The MP from Yorkshire said pinchpoints in the the Highways Agency network needed to be addressed.
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He said: 'Also, the big challenge is, where you have got roads with environmental challenges, sometimes they are put in the too hard to do box.
He added: 'At this stage, at least, we are looking at the low hanging fruit where we can deliver on some projects and certainly the A303 route down to the South West is probably known to people for its traffic jams in the same way we are focusing on the A47, the A27 and the A1 north of Newcastle. We have six key route we are looking at as to how we can look at that, as well as other small projects around the country whether roundabouts, slip roads, or the rest of it. By changing the way the Highways Agency is delivered we can get bang for our buck.'
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Questioned on rail priorities, Mr Goodwill said that while HS2 would improve connections to the north, there were other parts of the country, including East Anglia, which were going to need 'a bit of help'.
'So East Anglia, the South West and the North aswell is where we are delivering projects. I hope we are doing it in a way that is not politicised, and that actually we can defend in terms of the congestion we are trying to address and the road safety objectives aswell.'