Highways England’s plan to better connect Peterborough and Norwich moves to next stage

A million-pound plan to improve Peterborough’s part of the A47 is one step closer this week.

Highways England’s proposals to dual the carriageway between Wansford and Sutton villages, alongside six other improvements, were accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for examination last Monday, April 12.

The £300 million-plus investment also seeks to better connect Peterborough with Norwich, through five other improvements to the A47.

Chairman of the A47 Alliance and Cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport at Norfolk County Council, Cllr Martin Wilby said: “The A47 is crucial for the economic prosperity of Norfolk, connecting Norwich to Peterborough in the west and Great Yarmouth in the east.

“Thousands of our residents use the A47 for commuting, for seeing family, for trading, for holidaying, and far more.”

Plans to upgrade the stretch were put forward in August 2017, and a statutory consultation last year garnered more than 700 responses.

Almost three-quarters of respondents felt that road improvements were needed on the 115-mile stretch of A47 between Peterborough and Yarmouth, to help reduce congestion and shorten journey times.

The Planning Inspectorate will now start the process of a full examination of Highways England’s proposals before deciding whether to grant a Development Consent Order (DCO).

If Transport Secretary Grant Shapps gives the green light, road building works are due to start in March 2023.

Other upgrades include the Norfolk section from North Tuddenham and Easton, and further junction improvements at the A141 roundabout in Guyhirn, near Wisbech – where work began last week.

Highways England programme lead for the A47, Chris Griffin, called the acceptance of the DCO application “ a major milestone for the scheme”.

He said: “This stretch of road connects areas of growing economic activity around Norwich.

“The current layout of the road can act as a bottleneck, resulting in congestion and slower journey times.

“Our improvements will shorten journeys while improving safety for the thousands of drivers who use this stretch of road daily, while also maintaining connectivity and improving access for local residents.”

The Planning Inspectorate’s examination process will provide people with the opportunity to comment on the proposals in writing as well as the chance to participate in hearings.

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