The Transport Secretary has approved plans to build a new dual carriageway on the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton.
The Government says it’ll help to improve safety and reduce congestion on one of the country’s most dangerous A roads.
National Highways’ £200 million scheme was approved by the Grant Shapps through the granting of a development consent order. This is a way of obtaining permission for a development which is seen as nationally important for the infrastructure of the country.
25,000 vehicles use the A47 between North Tuddenham – Easton each day and traffic modelling data shows this section of the A47 is used by over 25,000 vehicles each day and has one of the highest recorded accident rates for an A road in the UK.
It says following the opening of the new dual carriageway, casualty projections over the next 60 years suggest that 64 fatal or serious injury collisions could be prevented.
The granting of the DCO means preparatory work on the project can begin later this year with construction due to begin in early 2023.
Following completion, journey times are expected to be reduced by up to five minutes.
The 5.5-mile dual carriageway will be built south of the existing A47 at Hockering and will run north of the current road at Honingham.
Two new junctions will also be constructed; Wood Lane – where Berrys Lane meets Wood Lane – and Norwich Road – where Blind Lane meets Taverham Road.
Easton Roundabout will also be removed helping to create a free-flowing road which will include four new bridges. These will pass over or under the new Mattishall Lane link road, Wood Lane junction, the River Tud and the Norwich Road junction.
With the construction of a new dual carriageway, sections of the existing A47 will be ‘de-trunked’ meaning it will come under control of Norfolk County Council as a local road. Under the plans, additional provision will be provided for non-motorised road users, meaning a network of routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
This scheme is one of six major improvements and almost half a billion pounds of investment National Highways is making to the 115-mile section of the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth.
The first of these – a £17 million upgrade to Guyhirn junction in Cambridgeshire – officially opened in May.
Chris Griffin, Programme Leader for National Highways in the East Region, said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement which means our plans to upgrade this section of the A47 with a dual carriageway moves to the construction stage.
“Our work here will reduce congestion, improve journey times and, most importantly, make the road safer. That is great news for local people and those who regularly work or travel in the area.
“Getting the green light for this project means we reach the next stage in our commitment to upgrading the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth. This includes six major road improvement projects worth almost half a billion pounds of investment.
“In reaching this milestone, I would like to acknowledge and thank all those whose hard work has driven this scheme from an initial plan to the start of construction.”
The new section of the A47 is due to open to traffic in the winter of 2025.
“Increasing road capacity and connecting communities across the east of England will pave the way for economic growth in this part of the country,” added Mr Griffin.
The upgrade is the subject of a challenge by local environmental activists.
(Picture – National Highways)