A new campaign to dual the A47 through Norfolk and Cambridgeshire has been launched in King’s Lynn today.
Just Dual It! is calling on the Government to commit to making funding available to dual the entire 115-mile stretch of the A47 by 2030.
Roads minister Jesse Norman was among those who attended the launch at the town hall and he heard from fellow politicians and business leaders supporting the campaign.
The dualling of the A47 would bring a number of benefits, the campaign says, including shorter and more reliable journey times and a boost to the region’s economy.
Chairman of the A47 Alliance Martin Wilby said: “I have seen so much support for the improvements needed on the A47 and the many people I have bumped in to say ‘why don’t we just do it and get on with it’, but there are certain processes we need to go through.
“The feeling is that we need to get on with these things and get the funding to make it happen.”
It is estimated that currently just 47 per cent of the A47 is dual carriageway, and while Highways England, which manages the trunk road on behalf of the Government, has committed to making £300 million of improvements to the road, this will still leave substantial sections of the A47 as single carriageway with no plans to dual them.
Mr Norman said although the Government has promised £15 billion for road improvements, demand still outweighs the available funds.
He said: “It’s important to be clear that although the funding that we put into this scheme has increased, we are under no illusions that we will be able to meet or address all of the needs that have been articulated.
“There is a colossal desire for more road building in this country and we are building more roads than ever before and investing more than ever before but we do not believe that this will be enough to meet demand.
“The effect of that is that we have to spend a lot of time analysing, surveying and reviewing and combining this into research in order to come up with an investment plan that is affordable, deliverable and which delivers the best outcomes for the country as a whole.”
West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long said he had visited a resident in the borough whose wife had died in a crash on the A47.
He said: “When are our roads going to be made safe to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”
Mr Norman said: “I hope you understand this Government is taking road safety with extreme seriousness across all our roads.
“We endeavour to create safer infrastructure and we will continue to do that.”
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, said: “Unemployment is going down and employment is going up – how much better could we do if we had world class infrastructure?
“If we invest now we save money and create wealth and enterprise. If we delay, we will be putting up the cost in the future.”
Sir Henry added: “I think this campaigns differs to those in the past in three ways, first of all the realisation that we have been let down in the past, and that’s important, we have been let down and we have seen it all before.
“We are in a stronger financial climate now as we have made the commitment of £15 billion for road infrastructure and that’s very positive.
“This is a serious campaign with serious people involved and it’s not going to go away.I’m more optimistic than I have been in the past.”