Friday, January 17, 2014
The Department of Transport has confirmed a feasibility study looking at ways of improving the A47 through Norfolk will also consider the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
The government had previously announced it would look into the possibility of improvements to the A47 to identify solutions to long-standing road hotspots around the country.
But politicians and business leaders have been making the case that the A12 should be reclassified as part of the A47, creating a trunk road connection from Peterborough all the way to Lowestoft.
And, on the day prime minister David Cameron visits the region, the government has confirmed their study will include the A12.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “The A47 and A12 are vital roads that give motorists and businesses access through the East of England and I want to ensure both provide the best service possible.
“These studies will ensure that investment will be targeted where it’s most needed.
“Good quality roads don’t just reduce congestion and improve safety, they boost the economy by unlocking growth. That’s why we are spending up to £50bn over the next 15 years on upgrading the road network.”
Mr Goodwill has written to local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and MPs whose constituencies lie within the proposed geographic scope of the study to set out a brief synopsis of the proposals for the study.
Arrangements have been put in place to discuss the details of the proposed scope of the study work with stakeholders during January and February.
Last year, the transport minister Stephen Hammond said that the A47 was among the top six routes in the country that will be looked at by the Highways Agency and was in the running to receive funding between 2015 and 2020.
The A47 Alliance - made up of council leaders and business representatives - launched an A47 Gateway to Growth prospectus in 2012, outlining how £500m would pay for a string of improvements to the 105-mile road.
They said that would boost economic output by £390m a year, bring in millions of pounds in private investment, create thousands of new jobs and cut journey times.
The A47 Gateway to Growth prospectus says about £110m in funding has already been identified, with the potential for £50m to £150m from other local sources, leaving between £270m and £370m to be sought from the government.
Councillors and MPs in Suffolk hope that, by continuing the A47 to Lowestoft, funding could help meet the costs of a new river crossing in the Suffolk seaside town.
Council bosses also say extending trunk road access from Great Yarmouth to the south shore of Lake Lothing in Lowestoft would help attract even greater benefits for the two towns - from the planned £50bn worth of investment in the southern North Sea over the next 10 years.