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‘Frustration’ over pace of improvements to A47 in Norfolk, with public set to get say next year

The North Burlingham junction on the A47. Picture: James Bass

The North Burlingham junction on the A47. Picture: James Bass

Consultation over options for the long-awaited improvements of sections of the A47 will not take place until next year, highways chiefs have confirmed.

The £300m programme to upgrade the A47 was announced in the run up to last year’s general election, with the plans including:

• A47 dualling from North Tuddenham to Easton;

• A47 dualling from Blofield to North Burlingham;

• A47/A12 Great Yarmouth junction improvements, including reconstruction of the Vauxhall roundabout;

• A47/A11 Thickthorn junction improvement to the interchange to give improved access to Norwich;

• A47 Guyhirn: a new larger junction linking the A47 with the A141 in Cambridgeshire;

• A47 Wansford to Sutton: dualling the A47 between the A1 and Peterborough

Highways England had previously said it would hold a public consultation on options for the improvements by the end of this year, but has now said that will not happen until next year.

Members of Norfolk County Council’s economic development sub-committee will meet at County Hall today to discuss the situation.

Councillors will be told that officers understand Highways England will be consulting on three options for each scheme.

A report will then be brought to the council to agree the authority’s response to the consultation.

After the consultation process, Highways England will select its preferred options for each scheme and commence preliminary design work, which is expected to be completed in mid-2018.

An application for necessary development consent orders will then be made, which is likely to be finalised in late 2019.

Council officers said that means construction is unlikely to start before 2020, but there might be the opportunity to deliver some “minor schemes” not subject to that process, such as at Great Yarmouth, before then.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the county council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We are all frustrated at the pace of the A47 improvements, but the people who use the road must be even more frustrated than we are.

“They are putting up with it day in, day out.”

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