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Q&A: What you need to know about A47 dualling

PUBLISHED: 13:44 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:44 27 February 2020

With the public consultation on dualling parts of the A47 officially underway, we grilled Highways England bosses on what you can expect over the next 20 years. Pictures: Highways Engalnd/ Abigail Nicholson

With the public consultation on dualling parts of the A47 officially underway, we grilled Highways England bosses on what you can expect over the next 20 years. Pictures: Highways Engalnd/ Abigail Nicholson

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With the public consultation on dualling parts of the A47 officially underway, we asked Highways England bosses what you can expect over the next 20 years.

The agency first announced its preferred option for dualling the five miles of the A47 between North Tuddenham to Easton and adding two new junctions in August 2017, as part of a £300 million series of upgrades along the A47 corridor.

The multi-million pound plan will save commuters up to seven minutes on journeys, improve safety and will boost the economy.

Now, Highways England is encouraging drivers, local people and business owners to share their views on the plans and has released the maps of the proposed routes.

We asked Pete Havlice, the project director for the A47 scheme, what commuters in Norfolk could expect from the proposed works.

Map showing the different improvements planned along the A47 corridor. Pitcure: Highways EnglandMap showing the different improvements planned along the A47 corridor. Pitcure: Highways England

Q. When will work on the North Tuddenham to Easton section actually begin?

A. "We expect to start work in March 2022. We are really committed to this start date."

Guyhirn on the A47. Picture: Rob Howarth/Stella Pictures LtdGuyhirn on the A47. Picture: Rob Howarth/Stella Pictures Ltd

Q. When will the road be completed?

A. This was a big topic in the comments section of our earlier story. The Highways bosses have set a steady target of the end of 2024, but Mr Havlicek said: "We aim to be finished before then."

Q. Why are they building a new road and digging up the countryside?

Plans for upgrades to North Tuddenham. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to North Tuddenham. Picture: Highways England

A. Another big topic in the comments section yesterday was about how the map showed a brand new road that would be created along parts of the A47.

Mr Havlicek said: "We had an earlier public consultation where we gave people four various options.

"One was to improve the current road while the others showed the new road running close to the current one.

"The plan to improve the current road had a lot of support so we made sure to keep it was close to that as possible.

Plans for upgrades to North Tuddenham. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to North Tuddenham. Picture: Highways England

"By making new roads, we can cause less disruption for current commuters, take away dangerous junctions to make free flowing traffic and move further away from small villages.

"This is the best way of doing the road as it is much better for the environment than digging up miles and miles of countryside."

Q. Are roundabouts being removed?

Plans for upgrades to Tuddenham. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Tuddenham. Picture: Highways England

A. Both the Eaton and Honingham roundabouts will be removed and replaced with free flowing traffic.

Q. Will there be new junctions?

A. "Two tier junctions where the A47 passes over the local roads at the intersections of Berry's Lane with Wood Lane and Blind Lane with Taverham Road."

Plans for upgrades to Blofield. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Blofield. Picture: Highways England

Q. Will any junctions be removed?

A. "The two proposed junctions will result in the existing direct accesses to the A47 road being removed, improving safety and connections to and from the A47 for local residents."

Plans for upgrades to Guyhirn. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Guyhirn. Picture: Highways England

Q. What will happen to the current roads?

A. "The current roads will mostly be kept, because of how wide they are they could be used by walkers and cyclists."

Q. Why are we enduring two years of work to save seven minutes?

Plans for upgrades to Wandford. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Wandford. Picture: Highways England

A. "It's more than that. We are also improving safety for the 40,000 vehicles that use the road every day, it will boost the economy and reduce congestion at the same time."

Q. What do you expect the new A47 to look like in 2040?

A. "We expect that by 2040 people will be saving seven minutes on their journey times, traffic will be more free flowing and the road will be much more suitable for travellers."

Plans for upgrades to Thickthorn. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Thickthorn. Picture: Highways England

Q. Will there be any new laybys?

A. Yes, there will be two between Fox Lane and the proposed Wood Lane junctions.

Plans for upgrades to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Highways EnglandPlans for upgrades to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Highways England

Q. Have you thought about diversions yet?

A. "We have started looking into them, we are working closely with Norfolk County Council to make sure the diversions cause the least amount of disruption for commuters."

Q. People were disheartened when things went quiet after the last consultation, what happens next?
A. "Once the six week consultation has closed on April 8, we will review all the suggestions and comments received.

"We will analyse and consider your feedback and make further changes.

"We will also talk to local people, businesses and land owners to get their opinions.

"By the end of this year we will then enter planning permission for the road, this can take 18 months to go through.

"Then we can start work on the A47."

Have your say on dualling the A47

You can take part in the consultation, which runs from Wednesday, February 26 until Wednesday, April 8 by visiting www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A47NT-E or by writing to Freepost A47 Tuddenham.

There will also be six public exhibitions where you can have your say and speak with members of the team. These will be at:

- North Tuddenham Village Hall, Fox Lane, North Tuddenham, Dereham, NR20 3DH, on Thursday, February 27. 1pm to 8pm.

- Hockering Village Hall, 3 Heath Road, Dereham NR20 3HT, on Friday, February 28, from 1pm to 8pm.

-East Tuddenham Village Hall, Mattishall Road, East Tuddenham, Dereham, NR20 3LR, on Monday, March 2, from 1pm to 8pm.

- Honingham Village Hall, 31 Dereham Road, Honingham, Norwich, NR9 5AP, on Tuesday, March 3, from 1pm to 8pm.

- Easton Village Hall, Marlingford Road, Easton, Norwich, NR9 5AD, on Wednesday, March 4, from 1pm to 8pm.

- Norwich City Centre, The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RQ, on Saturday, March 7, from 10am to 4pm.

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