Study shows significant cost increase for A47 upgrade

The A47 between The Pullover and Hardwick roundabouts in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt The A47 between The Pullover and Hardwick roundabouts in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Thursday, August 28, 2014
6:30 AM

The price tag for upgrades to parts of the A47 could rise significantly from earlier estimates, highways bosses have revealed.

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More detailed plans to upgrade the trunk road, which are likely to form part of the Department for Transport bid for roads cash from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, suggest the cost of dualling the road from North Tuddenham to Easton could be between £100m to £155m, compared to the £75m outlined in a business case drawn up by the A47 Alliance.

The cost of dualling the road from Blofield to Burlingham could be between £54m and £80m, compared to £40m in its original business plan.

The earlier estimates were drawn up by consultants Mouchel, based on what other recently delivered Highways Agency schemes had cost, reflecting what the scheme would have cost in 2010. But the Highways Agency has looked at the likely price of building the road in 2020, also taking into account the risks.

The Department for Transport looks set to put forward a £504m wishlist to the Treasury which will also include:

<t> The duallilng of the A47 between Wansford and Sutton in Cambridgeshire (costing between £66m and £94m)

<t> An upgrade to the A47/A141 Guyhirn Junction (£11m to £16.5m)

<t> An upgrade to the A47/A11 Thickthorn Roundabout (£67m to £103m)

<t> Safety measures for the A47 Acle Straight safety measures

<t> An upgrade to the A47/A12 Vauxhall roundabout junction, Great Yarmouth, (£19.6m to £28.8m)

<t> A package of improvements to A12 junctions, including Gapton Hall (£2.7m to £4m) and Harfreys (£8m to £10m) roundabouts and around James Paget (£382,000 and £566,000).

The new figures were disclosed at a private meeting for “stakeholders” attended by council officials, MP researchers and rural bodies.

Ian Shepherd, from Norfolk’s Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “My impression was that all points of view were being listened to and heard by the DfT and Highways Agency who made the presentations. As a member of an environmental NGO in Norfolk, and for that matter as a local resident, this was a welcome change given the experience of the past five years with the progression of the Joint Core Strategy for Greater Norwich, and the Northern Distributor Road.”

He welcomed moves to improve the cost estimates and identify the cost implications of specific problems that might be encountered.

“Costly “over-runs” affect not only other transport options, but will compete with many other services that are in public demand,” he added.

Toby Coke, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee, urged the government to commit to funding the schemes in the Autumn Statement and to instruct the Highways Agency to get on with the design work to allow them to be built as soon as possible.

“We desperately need a firm commitment from government on the dualling of the whole A47, so we still have a long way to go before we have the infrastructure the county deserves.”

He has also raised concerns that there is so little “on offer” around King’s Lynn, which he said was one of Norfolk’s main centres for growth.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are discussing a range of potential options for improving the A47 with interested parties to understand their views. Part of this process involves estimating outline costs for potential options. No investment decisions have been made as this is work in progress and when completed, the study outcomes will inform the Government’s 2014 Autumn Statement.“

Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

11 comments

  • The government will never fund the dualing of the entire A47, the blueprint for the future seen years ago only ever planned to focus on the A14 as the east west link road, which led to the death of Yarmouth as a port. West Norfolk always has and will remain cut off from the rest of the UK because neither Cambridgeshire or Lincolnshire would champion for money to be invested in a decent road system going to the edge of their counties. Norwich still believe they only need the A11 to prosper.

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    Honest John

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • A47 Alliance website quotes a figure of £1.4bn to dual the whole of the road The Alliance is asking for £416m in the short to medium term including dualling the Blofield to Burlingham section betweeb 2015 and 2021 for £40m. What will happen and at what cost?

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    Capri

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • thanks for your carefully chosen words Norfolk whateveryournameis, but what do you know? Do you honestly expect that your politicians would tell or ask you?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Ingo Whateveryournameis - what planet are you on? War with Syria and Iran .... Get real .... and get a life!

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    Norfolk John

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Maybe most of these vast increases in costs are due to the bumper consultancy fess paid for report after report, without any action ever being taken ? "The cost of dualling the road from Blofield to Burlingham could be between £54m and £80m, compared to £40m in its original business plan.". What, £80m to dual a 2-3 mile section, it was estimated at £26m in 2011, what are they using as the road surface - Gold ? And "Safety measures for the A47 Acle Straight safety measures" is almost laughable, what are they going to do, stop some of the dangerous idiots driving on it ? The state of the road is appalling & is barely fit to be an "A" road. With the long delays at Postwick, continual accidents on the North Burlingham section & Acle straight, I don't think the A47 has ever been so bad, maybe they should have done the work while it was cheap and without all the consultancy fees.

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    DocScott

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Another mute point, how can we afford it when we are about to go to war with Syria and then Iran?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Far from it being inflation or time related price rises, such increase only ever occurs whence a project becomes a reality and supported by the Government. This has more to do with future profits of the HA about to be privatised. Look at the NCC refurbishment, from 22 Million to 32 million within six month of the contrator being chosen, if companies can play footsie with public contracts, why do we need to go though the bidding process in the first place?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • And this article doesn't even mention the cost of any upgrades to the most troubles stretch between Swaffham and Dereham where one a souitary crash creates complete gridlock for hours and sends HGVs out in a web of chaos through tiny villages that simply cannot cope with their height or width. I think this statement is merely a softener for an announcement that an A47 upgrade is not going ahead. A pre-emptive strike to let us know that they got the figures wildly wrong and its now unaffordable. I would have considerable doubts whether these new estimates are evenb accurate. The cost of some of the fly-over and bridge replacements alone between Norwich and Kings Lynn would be enormous and dualling the Dereham to Fransham straight will be a problematic undertaking given the number of homes lining that route plus the huge rises and falls in the land levels either side of the road. Compulsory purchase costs and compensation for the fertile farming land over which the redirected routes will run, huge amounts of soil, aggregate and asphalt that need to be brought in, new signage and slip roads, electricity re-routing, roads drainage, a huge expensive labour force, plant and machinery costs plus the costs of landscaping the huge scar it will create across Norfolk. Bottom line is its never going to be cheap and th elonger you delay the work, the more expensive it becomes. The govt just need to grasp the nettle and get this aging road system sorted out rather than waste further millions on pointless military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and such like - problems that have been around for centuries and will never be resolved in our lifetime.

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    Lucioperca

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Yes it's called inflation. Perhaps the EDP could give us the original estimate figures accounting for inflation since the estimates were done.

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    Sugarbeet

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Abandon the ridiculous NDR, there's is plenty of money to be saved, which could be used on far more important issues.

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    Catton Man

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Of course it's more expensive. Stuff goes up and every day you faff about and don't do it, prices will go up again! Have you added in the years of lost revenue and opportunities for the region by NOT doing it? If you'd done it when it originally needed it, it would have cost you £15 and a bag of humbugs!

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    Adorablespy

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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