Minister’s road trip to see full extent of A47’s traffic problems
- Credit: IAN BURT
A government minister will be shown exactly what has driven the region's drivers to distraction for decades when he is taken on a trip along a treacherous stretch of the A47.
Transport minister Stephen Hammond agreed in principle to visit the A47 later this month – and North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham is set to take him on a trip along the road to show exactly why it is in urgent need of dualling.
Mr Bellingham said he wanted Mr Hammond to experience the misery many motorists faced every day on the route between Great Yarmouth and Peterborough in a bid to persuade him of the need for a long-awaited upgrade.
Mr Hammond has agreed in principle to visit the nightmare road later this month after his boss, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, agreed to commission a feasibility study to look at where improvements could be made on the A47.
Mr Bellingham has been part of a campaign, along with fellow Conservative MPs Keith Simpson and George Freeman, as well as council and business leaders, for government investment in the road, which they argue could help to create 10,000 new jobs and secure an annual economic boost of £390m.
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The campaign was dealt a blow in June when it was left out of the government's spending blueprint for 2015 to 2020 but was given a new lease of life by Mr McLoughlin's remarks last month, when he said the A47 was 'strategically very important'.
Mr Bellingham, who plans to travel with Mr Hammond from Norwich to King's Lynn, said: 'I've been campaigning on this for a long time, as have my Conservative parliamentary colleagues.
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'We have got to raise the pressure on getting something done about the A47. Norfolk has had a particularly bad year for road accidents and fatalities.
'Many places are not safe for overtaking, as drivers don't have enough forward vision to overtake.
'I'm very keen to get Stephen Hammond here and I want him to drive along the entire stretch of the road and see the really bad bits of it. I think it will impress upon him the need for this road to be improved.'
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman added: 'My colleagues and I have long campaigned for funding to improve this road because it is one of the most important arterial routes in our region and collisions on this road happen far too often.
'I look forward to discussing the safety of the road in detail with the transport minister when he visits the A47 in early September.'
West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said he and others would try to make the campaign a success.