Public hearings to decide if A47 dualling should go ahead
- Credit: Highways England
Public hearings to help decide whether a section of the A47 in Norfolk can be dualled will get under way tomorrow.
Over the course of the hearings, how the scheme would link to the proposed £198m Norwich Western Link and the Food Enterprise Hub at Easton will come under the spotlight.
The project's impact on bats and the environment is also due to be discussed.
The dualling of the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton will be subject to three days of Planning Inspectorate hearings.
Virtual hearings will help the inspector make recommendations over whether to award National Highways a development consent order.
The scheme includes 9km of dual carriageway between Hockering and Honingham and two new junctions at the Wood Lane/Berry's Lane and Norwich Road/Blind Lane junctions, alongside the removal of Easton roundabout.
There would also be four new bridges and closures for through traffic at Church Lane in East Tuddenham, Berrys Lane, Blind Lane and Church Lane in Easton.
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Norwich and Norfolk Green Party councillors say there has not been proper assessment of the impact on wildlife habitats, or of the cumulative effect of other dualling schemes.
And Wild Wings Ecology says a "full and informed assessment" of the scheme's impacts on the western barbastelle population has not been made.
The Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the secretary of state, who has the final say on whether work goes ahead.
Further hearings about the Blofield to North Burlingham dualling will be held next week. The following week will see hearings for proposed changes to Thickthorn roundabout, on the edge of Norwich.
In 2014, then prime minister David Cameron announced £300m would be spent on the road, but the slow pace in getting work started led to Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, accusing National Highways of "completely wasting five years".