Acle Straight dualling could start in 2023
Archant © 2017
Work on dualling the Acle Straight could begin in 2023, campaigners have been told.
A five year study is under way into whether tiny rare snails which live in roadside dykes could successfully be relocated.
But campaigners have now been told a decision on funding need not wait to find out whether the endangered little whirlpool ramshorn snail has taken to its new home.
The announcement from Whitehall was given to members of the A47 Alliance at a meeting in King’s Lynn.
Alliance chairman Martin Wilby said: “Highways England confirmed that the current study to relocate a protected species of snail that live in ditches along this section of the road is not in any way a blocker to the dualling of the Acle Straight being included in the next funding announcement, which we understand is likely to be made later this year.
“In fact, it was suggested that as this study was crucial to getting the road dualled, it should enable the improvements to start as soon as the study is complete in 2023, if we get the financial commitment from the government, of course.”
The alliance has been joined by the Road Haulage Association and Federation of Small Businesses, the meeting at Lynn Town Hall heard.
Mr Wilby said they would be “powerful allies” when it came to the alliance making the case for improvements to government. He added the group would be writing to ministers to urge them not to let other improvements, including dualling between North Burlingham and Blofield, and North Tuddenham and Easton, to be further delayed.
“These improvements were originally timetabled to be complete by 2020 but they have been delayed and members of the alliance agreed that we cannot afford for this work to slip further,” said Mr Wilby.
“So I, along with the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, will be writing to ministers to urge them to keep this work on track.
“We also need to keep making the case for further investment in the A47 – our aim is to get the whole of the route fully dualled, from Peterborough in the west right through to the east coast.”
The EDP-backed Just Dual It campaign, launched last year, aims to lobby government to fund dualling the entire route by 2030.