Fresh delay to £16m A47 Guyhirn roundabout improvement ‘embarrassing’ says Cambs Mayor James Palmer
PUBLISHED: 22:12 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 22:12 20 October 2017
A shock revelation that a £16 million improvement to the Guyhirn roundabout could be pushed back by at least two years has angered Mayor James Palmer.
The announcement of the delay was contained within a report from Highways England that optimistically reported some schemes would start earlier but others would be delayed indefinitely.
Guyhirn is one of 16 improvement schemes (the A47 upgrade from Wansford to Sutton is another) being eased back to stop too many road works taking place at the same time. The roundabout at Guyhirn is due to be enlarged and the road over the River Nene Bridge widened to three lanes to ease congestion
Mayor Palmer said that it was only in August Highways England published their preferred options for enhancing the A47 and he was critical then of the timescales involved; Guyhirn was scheduled to start in 2020 to allow time for a public inquiry and a decision period thereafter of up to a year.
However both Wansford and Guyhirn were now on the list of road upgrades “that are likely to be delayed by up to two years,” said the recently elected Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor.
“That means it could be spring 2022 that work on the dualling of the A47 between Wansford and Sutton and the enlargement of Guyhirn roundabout begin”
“I already thought that the timescales published over the summer weren’t ambitious enough.
“I will be writing urgently to both Highways England and the Department for Transport to seek clarity.”
Mayor Palmer said: “I find it perplexing that it takes almost four years to deliver a modest upgrade to a roundabout. The fact that this delay could mean it takes well over five years is embarrassing. We need to do far better.
“The A47 is crucial to the economic prosperity of the region and there is a need for us to be more ambitious and to deliver improvements far more quickly.
“Ultimately what is proposed by Highways England is not the answer. The A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech needs to be fully dualled and I’m optimistic that the business case that the combined authority commissioned study is currently developing will lead us along this road.”
Improvements to A47/A11 roundabout at Thickthorn, Norwich, have also been put back.
Highways England says some A47 improvements will start earlier than anticipated – including a junction upgrade at Great Yarmouth. This will allow a better phased programme to ensure there are not too many sets of road works happening at the same time.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive said: “Our update today is a sensible and responsible way to deliver major national investment in road infrastructure. It will keep our roads moving, deliver a lasting legacy for the country and ensure best value for money for the taxpayer.”