MPs meet minister to get assurances over A47 and Acle Straight dualling
PUBLISHED: 13:55 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:17 06 October 2020
Sonya Duncan/Chris McAndrew/Parliament
Norfolk MPs have met a government minister to get assurances over when work will start on A47 improvements - and that the long-running battle to get the Acle Straight dualled remains alive.
The county’s seven Conservative MPs met roads minister Baroness Vere and bosses from Highways England amid concerns over the timetable for schemes already agreed on the A47 and that the Acle Straight dualling had been ruled out for at least a decade.
At Norfolk County Council meeting on September 16, Highways England officials said the Acle Straight dualling was not in the next tranche of schemes coming through, so it would not be included until 2030 to 2040 at the earliest.
The anger of county councillors prompted Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis to write to roads minister Baroness Vere.
She replied that her interpretation was that, although the Acle Straight will not be dualled over the next 10 years, it did not mean the proposal had been ruled out for investment in the next phase, from 2025 to 2030.
She said: “I am pleased to confirm that recent reports stating that improvements to the Acle Straight will not be considered until 2030 at the earliest are not correct.
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“Many improvements to the A47, as well as the third river crossing in Yarmouth, are already underway and plans for works on the Acle Straight will be considered as part of the next Roads Investment Strategy which starts in 2025.”
Mr Lewis joined fellow MPs Jerome Mayhew, Chloe Smith, Duncan Baker, James Wild, Richard Bacon and George Freeman in a meeting with Baroness Vere and Highways England bosses.
Broadland MP Mr Mayhew, who recently raised the issue with Boris Johnson during prime minister’s questions, said the Norfolk MPs secured assurances that past delays to the dualling of the A47 will not be repeated and that the dualling of the Acle Straight was still “very much in play”.
He said: “The minister accepted personal responsibility for ensuring that Highways England keep to their timetable for a series of specific improvements to the A47 which reflect the priorities of the A47 Alliance.
“In addition, the executive director of Highways England committed to visiting the Acle Straight, alongside MPs and local stakeholders, so that plans for its dualling can be discussed.”
Stretches of the A47 between Easton and North Tuddenham and from Blofield to Burlingham are due to be dualled as part of a £300m scheme, while changes will be made to Thickthorn junction.
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