March 5 2015 Latest news:

Business leaders and politicians joined forces today to give renewed impetus to plans to unlock Norfolk’s growth potential by improving the A47.

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With work under way to dual the A11, the east-west artery of the A47 has become the county’s main transport priority.

With that in mind, politicians, transport campaigners and industry leaders met at the Norfolk Showground outside Norwich yesterday for the launch of “A47 – Gateway to Growth”, an eight-page prospectus which outlines “an achievable programme of targeted improvements” along the congested route.

Rather than putting forward a single, unaffordable plan to dual the whole 105-mile stretch from Great Yarmouth to Peterborough, the document outlines a “realistic” series of 14 individual projects at pinch-points and problematic junctions.

They include dualling the Acle Straight, creating a third river crossing at Great Yarmouth, and building an East Winch / Middleton bypass in West Norfolk.

In order to help secure the necessary funding for these projects – more than £500m in total – the economic case is laid out in the potential benefits of the plans over the next 20 years:

-Almost 10,000 new jobs

-£390m per year increase in economic output;

-Private investment of more than £800m

-A 30-minute reduction in journey time, worth £42m a year to road users.

The launch event was joined by Broadland MP Keith Simpson mid-way through his journey along the A47 from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth – driving a Mini Cooper emblazoned with a Union Flag – to highlight the issues.

Mr Simpson said: “There is no ‘big bang’ solution to this. But if we don’t come up with an achievable business plan we will not be able to persuade the government to at least come up with some initial money and I am absolutely convinced that unless we come up with a compelling business case we are not going to be able to convince the minister.

“If we can demonstrate something is viable and achievable and get the money for it, then not only will people in Norfolk see that things are starting to move, but it also reinforces our case for the next tranche of money when it becomes available. I would like to think maybe we could get something in the next five years.”

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