Battle to get A47 Acle Straight dualled is not over, pledge councillors
PUBLISHED: 11:13 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 22 September 2020
Furious councillors have pledged not to give up the fight over the dualling of the A47 Acle Straight - and said they believe it can still get on the government’s next wave of road schemes.
At a meeting of Norfolk County Council last week, Highways England officials said the dualling of the notorious stretch would not be included in schemes from 2025 to 2030 - known as the road investment strategy three.
Peter Havlicek, Highways England programme lead for the A47, had said: “The Acle Straight as it currently stands is not in the next tranche of potential projects coming through.
“I know there’s a tremendous amount of lobbying that has taken place by a lot of businesses and local authorities on various improvements on the A47.”
That sparked anger from councillors and, at a meeting of the full county council on Monday, they said they would not be giving up the fight.
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Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council and former Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, said urged the council to write to MPs to keep up lobbying over the road.
He said it was unacceptable that Highways England had yet to do any physical work on the £300m of work which has been earmarked for the A47, including dualling between Easton to North Tuddenham, from Blofield to North Burlingham and changes to the Thickthorn junction.
And he said it was “wrong” that Highways England had signalled the Acle Straight would not be in that next round of schemes, without any consultation.
He said: “It does seem to me that Highways England are completely off track as far as Norfolk is concerned.”
Mr Plant said Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I do not accept it cannot be part of the road investment strategy three. I will not give up lobbying to get this much-needed improvement for infrastructure across the whole of Norfolk.”
The dualling of the Acle Straight was one of the key demands of the Just Dual It! campaign spearheaded by the EDP, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce.
Highways England recently revealed how water voles, in a stream they want to divert as part of the Thickthorn junction changes, will need to be moved before construction work on that scheme can commence.
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