Dreams for a dualled Acle Straight down but not out
- Credit: Archant
While dreams of a dualled A47 Acle Straight have been dashed many times, local councillors have pledged they would not give up the battle to see the road upgraded.
Hopes of improving the nine-mile stretch, built in the 1830s, have been on the cards since at least the 1950s.
Supporters say it would contribute to the levelling-up of Great Yarmouth, while also making the case that a dual carriageway would be safer than a single carriageway, particularly given the dykes either side, which have claimed people’s lives after crashes.
As it stands, £300m of work has been earmarked for the A47, including dualling between Easton to North Tuddenham, from Blofield to North Burlingham and changes to the Thickthorn junction.
Last September, however, Highways England announced that the long called for dualling of the Acle Straight would not happen for at least another decade, after it was not included in the government’s next wave of road schemes.
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Members of the pressure group the A47 Alliance wrote last year to roads minister Baroness Charlotte Vere and transport secretary Grant Schapps, saying the upgrading the road would “unlock the 125,000 houses and 75,000 jobs planned along the A47”, create an additional £330m in value and generate more than £200m in enhanced productivity.
From tourists heading to Norfolk for holidays, to the burgeoning offshore industry seen as so crucial for the county’s economy, the fact the key road into Yarmouth remains single carriageway continues to frustrate hopes for many who live and work there.
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Having a single carriageway connecting the town to the heart of Norfolk and Norwich is seen as something of a brake on the town's potential being fulfilled.
While the £120m third river crossing which will link the port and enterprise zone with the section of the A47 which used to be the A12, that is of limited benefit for traffic coming and going from other parts of the country.
Queues on the Acle Straight, whether caused by congestion or a crash, can be off-putting to visitors, who may decide not to heard for Yarmouth.
There will be work done to the Vauxhall roundabout to ease the congestion there, but that work, originally due to take place in 2018, has also been delayed.