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'Still cautiously optimistic' - no money yet to dual A47 but Long Stratton bypass will get government cash

PUBLISHED: 19:54 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:54 30 September 2019

Traffic on the Acle Straight. The road was not one of the projects to recieve government funding in today's announcement. Picture: Archant.

Traffic on the Acle Straight. The road was not one of the projects to recieve government funding in today's announcement. Picture: Archant.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

The A140 Long Stratton bypass has been awarded money to help move the long-gestating scheme to the point where it can get the government cash needed for it to be built.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport.  Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

But Norfolk faces a wait to discover if the pressure to get more of the A47 dualled has paid off - with further announcements on how £25.3bn will be invested in roads between 2020 and 2025 not expected until later this year.

While some schemes, such as the widening of the A12 from Lowestoft to London have been earmarked for funding, there has been no announcement of cash for the A47 at this stage.

The EDP has, with Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, been running the 'Just Dual It!' campaign to encourage investment in the A47.

However, there was money for Norfolk when the government announced round of schemes which will get a share of more than £100m.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said he remained "cautiously optimistic" the A47 would be a beneficiary.

"We have been lobbying and working very hard for our priorities, especially dualling the Acle Straight, but we haven't heard anything yet," he said.

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"Hopefully we will still be in line for some of this funding. I am still cautiously optimistic we will get some funding for the A47."

And, although the Long Stratton bypass was not awarded money for its construction, the government has said it will get funding to help it get to the development stage.

Long Stratton Bypass would be a new 2.5-mile single carriageway section of the A140 to relieve traffic through the centre of the South Norfolk town.

Due to be started in the first half of 2022 and open to traffic in 2024, its estimated it will cost £29m, with the majority of this being sought from the Department for Transport together with a significant contribution from the developer of 1,800 new homes.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: "This is obviously welcome. We are not starting from scratch and we've got £10m for this road from the City Deal funding.
"This is not just about Long Stratton, important though that is. It's about linking the two regional centres of Norwich and Ipswich, which can't fulfil their potential when traffic is crawling along at a snail's pace, with people breathing in fumes."

Earlier this year, the Long Stratton bypass was named as a regional priority by Transport East, the sub-national body which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Southend-on-Sea.

Other projects included in that were the Norwich Western Link, the West Winch housing access road and for a complete redesign of the A47/A17 Pullover junction to the west of King's Lynn.

The Long Stratton bypass is the only one of those four schemes which has been awarded funding in this £100m tranche.

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