Highways England appoint project manager in latest step towards dualling A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech
Hopes for dualling the A47 through Wisbech have taken a major leap forward.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer has won agreement from the Minister for Transport, Baroness Vere, that Highways England will take forward A47 dualling plans to the next stage.
The January meeting between mayor and minister confirmed that Highways England will now action Mayor Palmer’s request to fund and carry out a strategic assessment of the A47 between the A16 and the Walton Highway east of Wisbech.
Showing a fresh commitment to the project, Highways England swiftly appointed a Highways England project manager to drive forward the work, which it started last month, and should complete by October.
Mayor Palmer has long argued that the A47 is vital to the Cambridgeshire, East Anglian, and UK economy and needs to be upgraded accordingly.
It is also key to any levelling-up agenda, helping northern areas of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region to get the better connections they require to create growth and the prosperity it brings.
Today (Wednesday), the Combined Authority’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee meeting will hear how Mayor Palmer’s A47 agenda has moved forward since they last met in November,
Mayor Palmer and the Combined Authority have been unwavering in promoting the case for dualling, aiming to secure Government agreement that the project be taken forward in partnership with the Highways England and recognised as a development priority by Highways England and the Department for Transport.
Achieving Mayor Palmer’s objective, the ministerial meeting confirmed that Highways England would undertake the strategic assessment of the A47 between the A16 and the Walton Highway east of Wisbech, working in genuine partnership with the Combined Authority.
The dualling project will bring:Vital connectivity to the north of the Combined Authority area and will
complement other Combined Authority transport and infrastructure priorities, like Wisbech Rail and development of the new Garden Town at Wisbech.
As well as: Route enhancement to stimulate economic growth in the north of Combined Authority’s region, in housing, education, employment, and the agri-tech economy.
And: A safer strategic route offering improved journey times
Mayor Palmer said: “We’ve always had a good case for dualling, and I have been determined to get this
done. We convinced a tough judge, with claims on the transport purse from all over the country, that this road is crucial to development across the east of England, and especially communities in the north of our own area which has missed out for decades on the infrastructure needed to loop them fully into growth and the prosperity it brings.
“We’ve achieved a major objective in the form of an actual partnership with Highways England, and that’s an important first. Infrastructure schemes on the scale we want for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough need real muscle and to be integrated with other projects to create a truly linked-in and levelled up county.
“Partnership with the key players like Highways England, backed by the Department for Transport itself, is how we will put all Cambridgeshire where it wants to be.”
The renewed work will use Highways England’s established Project Control Framework (PCF) process to review existing evidence, including that already delivered by the Combined Authority. It will also assess current and future network conditions, and review and identify options for improving the A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech.
The review will also be informed by other road proposals including options for the A47/A1101 roundabout junction already being developed by Highways England.
The updated final PCF documentation is expected to conclude by October 2021 and will be submitted to the DfT for consideration for further development work.