Graphic: Prime Minister David Cameron pledges £300m for series of A47 improvements

07:16 01 December 2014

Views of the A47 single carrage way - the Tuddenham junction. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Views of the A47 single carrage way - the Tuddenham junction. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

The campaign to get Norfolk, Suffolk and the Fens connected will take a giant step forward this week as Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in the region today to pledge more than £300m to upgrade the A47.

A12 to become A47

The Government has announced its intention to “renumber” the A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft as the A47, following a campaign by MP Peter Aldous MP, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and local businesses.

By linking the A47 to Lowestoft as a trunk road, they believe Government funding would be unlocked to help meet the costs of a new river crossing in the town.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, right, welcomed the announcement saying poor roads to Lowestoft and the Waveney area had been a major obstacle to attracting new business for far too long.

He said A47 investment would mean that Waveney would be much more accessible to the rest of the country and would help bring new jobs to the area. “Extending the A47 to Lowestoft is very important as it puts the town properly on the national road network and it means that we’re in a much better position to obtain funding for the much needed new crossing of Lake Lothing.

We now need to focus on providing this crossing as soon as possible and in the long term for the A47 to be dualled along its entire length from Lowestoft to Peterborough,” he said.

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The campaign to get Norfolk, Suffolk and the Fens connected will take a giant step forward this week as prime minister David Cameron will visit the region today to pledge more than £300m to upgrade the A47.

In what will be a busy week of infrastructure announcements for the region – with improvements to the speed and reliability of the train line between Norwich and London expected to be given the backing of the chancellor – details of three sections of dual carriageway, amounting to 8.4 miles, will be announced.

What are the schemes?

The announcement sets out an investment package worth over £300m. These are:

• A47 North Tuddenham to Easton dualling.

• A47 Blofield to North Burlingham dualling.

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

• Safety improvements at key hotspots on the Acle Straight. This could include the installation of safety barriers, junction improvements and road widening or capacity improvements.

• A47/A11 Thickthorn junction: improvement of the interchange to give improved access to Norwich.

• A47 Guyhirn: creation of a new larger junction linking the A47 with the A141.

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

Improvements to the Vauxhall Roundabout in Great Yarmouth, the Thickthorn Roundabout on the edge of Norwich, the A47/A141 Guyhirn improvements and safety measures on the Acle straight will also be set out.

But with just five months left of the parliament, it will be up to the next Government elected to get diggers in the ground.

While drivers will be able to travel from Dereham to Acle on a two-lane road under the plans, the pledge falls short of the full dualling of the route.

Campaigners who have long-campaigned for major improvements to the Acle Straight, and the route between Peterborough and Dereham will miss out on a slice of the Government’s £15bn funding pot.

Yarmouth North and Central councillor Mick Castle said Norfolk had been “failed yet again”, and the proposed safety scheme, which could see some barriers built on the Acle Straight did not go far enough.

However Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said the restructuring of the Vauxhall Roundabout on the route into Great Yarmouth would help to ease congestion.

Adding: “We will do the work and deliver. You can see how quickly we have done the A11.”

Mr Cameron said: “Improving the A47 will help the local economy and build on the extra 211,000 jobs that have been created since 2010, ensuring more people in the East of England have the financial security of a regular pay packet for them and their family. And it is worth pointing out that spending hundreds of millions of pounds on roads like this is only possible because of the difficult decisions we have taken elsewhere as part of our long term economic plan.”

George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk, said: “For too long the A47 – the clogged east to west trade artery linking the Suffolk and Norfolk coast across Norfolk to the Midlands – has been a symptom of our part of the world being treated by Brussels and Whitehall as a “rural backwater”.

“But our area is full of world class businesses and opportunities - in engineering, science, energy, food and agriculture, wildlife, tourism, media and the arts.”

Toby Coke, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said he had been expecting the schemes set out to cost £500m, and the details would need more explanation, but that the announcement was “good news”.

“We have now got to really press for the rest of the dualling. The Acle straight and King’s Lynn have got to be top of the list.”

But Denise Carlo, from the Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group, said the government’s own findings – and the schemes announced – showed traffic levels did not justify end to end dualling of the road.

She said: “Norfolk County Council has again wasted thousands of pounds of local public money on expensive highways consultants and lobbying for end to end dualling.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed the news and said: “We are now keen to see the details of when these schemes will start and will be continuing to work with local colleagues to ensure construction can begin as soon as possible.

“We will continue to press for further improvements to the road to ensure that our goal of a fully dualled A47 remains firmly on the agenda.”

Are the right sections of the road being prioritised? Write (giving your full contact details) to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

Great Eastern Main Line still awaiting green light

Rail travellers and businesses across East Anglia are still waiting to hear whether a long-awaited investment programme to improve the Great Eastern Main Line is still on track.

But there are high hopes that a £476 million upgrade to the line from Liverpool Street to Norwich through Ipswich and Colchester will get the go-ahead as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement process.

It is top of the list of “must-do” items for business groups across the region – a report into the proposal published in the summer said that such an infrastructure boost could bring £4.5 billion of investment to the region.

And the proposal has also won cross-party backing.

Last week shadow chancellor Ed Balls said that any pledge from the Chancellor would be honoured by an incoming Labour government if that is the result of next year’s general election.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP said: “This is going to be a hugely important week for the future of our region’s infrastructure.

“We have asked George Osborne for £476 million investment in the Great Eastern Main Line, which will deliver £4.5bn economic benefits for Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk and thousands of jobs – 10,000 in Ipswich alone.

“We have thousands of rail passengers and businesses backing our campaign and have been told by ministers that we have a strong and compelling case. So our hopes are high, as we wait for those words turning into action.

41 comments

  • With no planned dualling of the A47 between King's Lynn and Peterborough, what about the new rail link that was recently proposed? Will that ever happen either?

    Report this comment

    Mr Milliband S'Even-Bigger-Porkpies

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • In the mid-90s, just before an election, the Conservatives announced a huge list of improvements for the A47, far more than they've just announced. Soon after getting into power the whole lot was shelved "due to lack of funding" so I won't hold my breath on this one!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • Money for roads, but to heII with the NHS. See 'Crisis in our hospitals as six across the region put on black alert' elsewhere on this website.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

  • The Acle straight contains some deep dips from which traffic suddnely appears. The simple solution to this awful road is to have double yellow lines , reduce the speed and have cameras to enforce the speed limit. So it takes four to five minutes longer, not at busy times, but a lot of tragedy would be averted.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

  • Election promises come and go... In reality the UK is have a bad record of keeping up with the requirements of the nation which is 25% behind the times.. Poor crowed road system, poor over priced crowed rail system, poor affordable houses based on the average wage, now renting is also becoming unaffordable to more every year and more staying with parents as a result. Poor paying jobs to not be able to buy a home. The NHS full of government created problems that should have been sorted many years ago, education likewise .. The government saying they are putting billions into many projects is basically admitting they have failed to keep up with the needs of the nation... This said allowing the population to constantly increase just makes the whole system of problems worse.. 64 million in the UK now .. 70 million possible by 2030 on our small island will obviously mean the same problems and many others will be with us for decades to come.. So a 25% increase in traffic on the Acle straight is well possible by 2030, helped by the 1000 houses to be built near the James Paget And general population growth... MPs have bad record of doing this right ..3 main political parties with 3 different ideas .. That is a bad combination for a start .. As often neither has the correct answer to many problems ... Coming elections often create promises and little positive actions ..

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • When is Cameron going to find a small gap in his diary to open the A11 dual carriageway? It's bloody frustrating crawling along stopping and starting every few minutes when it is obviously finished!

    Report this comment

    Alan Bainbridge

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • I also love his line "we'll be tough on the deficit & tough on the causes of the deficit." Does this mean he'll be tough on his own party? The Tories have made mistakes, but options are limited when the cupboard is bare.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • This afternoon, Ed Millionreband said that Labour would stick to the government commitments on road building. So, once again be jumps onto a popular bandwagon

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • And this afternoon, Ed Millionreband said that Labour would stick to the government commitments on road building. So, once again be jumps onto a popular bandwagon. I also love his line "we'll be tough on the deficit & tough on the causes of the deficit." Does this mean he'll be tough on his own party, given that they were in charge when the economy was growing and failed to get government spending under control, so when the recession hit there were no savings (and the gold reserves had been sold off at bargain basement prices by Chinless Brown)? The Tories have made mistakes, but options are limited when the cupboard is bare.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Mick Castle. Highways have already spent a small fortune on preparatory work for the Acle Straight. Remember when they piled up mounds of soil to see how quickly they sunk into the marshes. I don`t think we ought to waste any more of our money on thinking dualling is a viable proposition. Its marsh land and it would cost a small fortune to build on it successfully.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • The key to getting the Acle Straight dualling into the Government's Highways Programme will be for Norfolk to designate the rough grazing land between the existing single carriageway and the Norwich to Acle railway line as a "Transport Corridor" - capable of taking the extra lanes for a proper dual- carriageway solution (and any rail improvement works as required). Money for another "Mickey Mouse" safety scheme would be better spent on the design work for the dualling so that we have a shovel-ready scheme that can be started as soon as Government monies are available.

    Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • The key to getting the Acle Straight dialling into the Government's Highways Programme will be for Norfolk to designate the rough grazing land between the existing single carriageway and the Norwich to Acle railway line as a "Transport Corridor" - capable of taking the extra lanes for a proper dual- carriageway solution (and any rail improvement works as required). Money for another "Mickey Mouse" safety scheme would be better spent on the design work for the dialling so that we have a shovel-ready scheme that can be started as soon as Government monies are available.

    Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • After 25 years of WAFFLE about improving the Acle straight.... one learns never to trust statement coming from MPs and the government... When and if it ever happens we will see... Meanwhile as the UK population constantly increases, the traffic problems will get worse as the same applies to rail travel and shortage of affordable housing and unaffordable rents on low incomes... More people mean more problems that is ... BASIC LOGIC .. But legal tax avoidance by high earners seems to be excepted by the public with little fuss created .. very sad.. we have become our own worse enemy .... and just except what ever happens... Money is always found coming up to any election.... to get you to vote for another 5 years of the same... it all gets rather like GROUNDHOG DAY.. Repeating itself .....

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • What is planned then?? One notable scheme - dualling from North Tuddenham to Easton roundabout. Dualling the short single carriageway stretch of the A47 between Blofield and Burlingham was at an advanced planning stage a few years ago and was surprisingly withdrawn - little opposition to it. No surprise this small scheme is re-instated. Long sections of single road will remain from west of Dereham to King's Lynn. A mostly single carriageway route for long distance traffic from west Norfolk whether it be A17 to Newark and A1 or A47 to Peterborough and A605 to A14.

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • In reply to all those people who say the Acle Straight is a dangerous stretch road it is not dangerous than any other road. If you look at the result of the investigations into the accidents on the Straight. The road is not too blame. It is generally excessive speed and idiotic overtaking. The Straight causes a lot of inconvenience to motorists when there is an accident because there is no short cut way of diverting traffic other than through Caister. Dualling it is never going to happen because in the wider scheme of things it does not make economic sense to do so. Laying dual carriageway across miles of marsh land would be prohibitively expensive. Plus there would be need for an additional river crossing and a spur road off the A47 to Caister. If you dont build either you are going to finish up with the biggest car park in the East. And we all know what happens when you lay a dual carriageway on marsh land. Caister by pass is a prime example. Undulating doesn`t come into it and it would be even worse on the Straight with the volume of traffic that road carries on a daily basis. The reduction to 50mph with a double white line painted down the middle will solve a lot of problems on the Straight with a couple of speed cameras either side of the Reedham turn.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • I say, Ingo, it's 600 million. You missed a zero orf the end. Wishful thinking, I fear. That's right blister, you little closet Tory, the debt has grown to £1.45 trillion under this Govt. What is David Cameron doing ? Spending is completely out of control, and even so public services, like the NHS, are collapsing. You really can't trust the Tories with anything. LOL

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Sorry to hear Mr Eggleston is not a fan of 'only way is Essex' man, but please realise, the only point of Lewis is to do favours in return for donations, take Pasta Foods and Theo Agnew as but two examples. Serving his constituents never crossed his mind.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Welcome to a new daily feature in the EDP: David Cameron's pork pie of the day. Back in 2010, the electorate of these fair isles gorged themselves silly on his ever-so-tempting pork pies, without giving close intention to the ingredients' small print. How foolish. Unfortunately such gluttony on his rotten fare has made the country wretchedly sick ever since. So if anyone is tempted by a nibble at his latest offerings, remember its only electioneering. LOL

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • As a former resident of Great Yarmouth I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the town has once again lost out in the latest national transport review. For decades local residents and business leaders have been calling for the eastern section of the A47 and the northern section of the A12 to be upgraded to dual carriageways so that commercial enterprises in Great Yarmouth can can expand and prosper. It is worth remembering that the primary function of an MP is to represent his constituents' interests and the Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, Mr Brandon Lewis, has, with dire consequences for the town, signally failed to discharge his duty in this regard. Mr Lewis is not a business-friendly MP: he was strongly in favour of increasing the rate of VAT, for example; and, as a result of his lack of support for the town's businesses, Great Yarmouth has yet again been dismissed by the government, in which Mr Brandon is a minister, as an isolated rural backwater with no prospect of future economic success. Giving the Vauxhall roundabout a little bit of a makeover, erecting some barriers along the Acle straight and renaming the A12 between Yarmouth and Lowestoft the "A47" will do little or nothing to increase traffic flows and decrease journey times to and from the town and, sadly, it is therefore clear that until Brandon Lewis is replaced as Yarmouth's MP, the town's economy in general, and the Outer Harbour in particular, will continue to stagnate.

    Report this comment

    Brian Eggleston

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • As part of the announcement today the Acle Straight WILL NOT be made into dual carriageway and also a 50mph speed limit will be introduced. So, the upshot is, the road will still be deadly as ever, the time needed to transit from GY to Acle will take longer than before the modifications were made and the potential for traffic disruption as a result of a broken-down vehicle, or a road traffic accident, will be just the same as it is now. For all that money spent we get a worse connection to the rest of the country than we have now. I am sure that the residents of Filby (and associated villages) and Haddiscoe (and associated villages) will be pleased that more traffic will be transiting through their villages as a result. Our government taxes at work? Reading today's comments from some of our local MP's it is evident that the representation of their respective constituencies is not foremost on their minds.

    Report this comment

    DDEisen

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • The priority is the £500 million needed for flood defences to deal with the effects of climate change,not more roads which will make the problem worse.Air pollution is killing 60,000 people a year already.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • @Daisy Roots - why would Wisbech to Guyhirn be more expensive than any other area of the Fens? It's completely flat so wouldn't exactly be an engineering challenge. It's no different to, say, the new Thorney bypass, to the existing Wisbech bypass, or the Tilney bypass

    Report this comment

    Mr Milliband S'Even-Bigger-Porkpies

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Pre-election promises never materialist. In all my life I,ve never known a government to be so dishonest with the electorate, as the present coalition.

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • For over 50 years ago local people have asked for the Acle Straight to be duelled, millions have been spent on various studies for this and the original A149A47 link road at Great Yarmouth, and once again what do we get? A few minor modifications to a roundabout! Meanwhile the Norwich NDR, Poswick Interchange, and the, 'not wanted', Gorleston link road get the money. As always the most important need in Norfolk, the regeneration of Yarmouth, is ignored, despite the fact that it's 'Enterprise Zone' is frequently sited as a reason for spending for areas away from the town, which will not assist.

    Report this comment

    Nick

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Any chance of David Cameron being buried under 6ft of Tarmac? Now that would be an improvement for the whole Country not just the A47

    Report this comment

    Che Bramley

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • As far as I can work out nearly all the major improvements on the A47 opened while Tory governments were in power but the dates when they were commissioned are not clear-some may be down to Labour. Whilst I do not care to see the county urbanised, it should be our right to have a road network adequate for our needs, to serve the local economy and to reflect the contribution the county makes to the national economy. I drive across county and into Cambridgeshire on almost a weekly basis and whilst I am happy to tootle along ( ahem) I can see the work hours and money that slow moving traffic must cost businesses. Brandon Lewis actually said something remotely sensible when he pointed out a redesigned Vauxhall roundabout should solve some of the congestion problems on the Acle Straight. Let us hope the fools in the planning departments have not restricted the scope of what can be done by allowing a new Premier Inn to be built very close by. And yes J Island is right , the road does need dualling to Peterborough- but the Wisbech to Guyhirn stretch would surely be pretty expensive because of the ground conditions.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • A wish list of 'would, should, could', of the most desperate kind. Here we have the governing coalition proposing a future expenditure on car drivers in the marginal seats. Once again their sole focus is on them when the NHS is creaking when the national debt has gone up by 60 billion. The existing A47 needs improving, but it should not be used as an election sop only. For example, emergency ambulances could shave 1,5 minute off their response time by having a dedicated direct access into the hospital. Whilst Anglian water, doing good business across the whole region, could take all their heavy tankers of our small local roads with a dedicated AW access form the bypass, and there are many more impoverishments they didn't think about in the early 1990's, a roving program that is not used as a party election give away, but happens when its due to happen providing funds are available, which they are not.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • John L Norton At least the Tories however much you may dislike them got their act together and managed to get the rest of the A11 dualled. Something which Labour promised but never got round to doing because all of its money went to its heartlands uptnorth. The proof in today's promises will be when construction actually starts. If it doesn`t happen then carp on; but these promises appear do to be some of the strongest plans yet. Thankfully plans to dual the Acle Straight have been dropped. Labour were one of the worst to promise dualling it on the lead up to every election but there is no point in building a dual carriageway to no where, creating the biggest car park in the East in the process. A touch of reality at last.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • As Labour themselves said in their review of Road Infrastructure projects, it takes on average 10 years to go from conception to spades in the ground, so nothing will happen for some time, so plenty of time for the next two governments to scupper it.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • It's not just the A47 that needs improving nobody ever brings up the A140 which is another major hub to the East Coast via the A143,A146 and the Midlands and the Major Ports (Felixstowe and Harwich ),Not only is it a single carriageway but has a 50mph limit but is never mentioned,I use quite often and it's a nightmare

    Report this comment

    johnboi

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • 13 years of Labour in the "good times" bought nothing in terms of road improvements, what is mentioned today is a start - but a little more to local authorities for potholes and other road maintenance programs would be nice.....(surely a coincidence its in an election year?)

    Report this comment

    Testing_times

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • One wonders where the money is coming from with a £1.4 trillion and growing debt, looks like going further into the mire to me, for whoever forms the next government.

    Report this comment

    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • It makes me laugh all the Tories in the media today proclaiming their delight at these plans, reminds of chimps applauding themselves.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Dangling a carrot springs to mind ! career politicians concerned about their future and jobs , remember a X in a different box is all it takes

    Report this comment

    Dave

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • They are plans from a government that is in serious trouble, that is all.

    Report this comment

    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • So Mr Cameron, what's more important - avoiding even more deaths on the Acle straight or building a tunnel next to Stonehenge so that Southerners aren't distracted by traffic whilst trying to look at an inaccessible monument? Oh right, the latter.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Dear oh dear John does anyone believe Labour would spend any money here? Scotland and the North east and the big cities yes, but despised East Anglia, come on.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Give us our share of the money-back dated-that has been frittered away in Scotland. The approximate region of East Anglia ( Norfolk Suffolk Cambridgeshire and especially if we include South Lincolnshire and north Essex) has approaching one fifth of the population of Scotland. But we have nothing near the miles of motorway relative to population, nor the fancy civil engineering works .

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • This is blatant electioneering from coalition government coming to the end of it's term. If anyone believes this it will show just how fickle they are.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • could we please have the potholes filled in first.

    Report this comment

    gerry mitson

    Monday, December 1, 2014

  • Central government fails us again A. 47 needs dialling from Peterborough !

    Report this comment

    J.island

    Monday, December 1, 2014

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