Funding within decade for dualling Acle Straight ‘remains possible’, says government minister
PUBLISHED: 17:38 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:39 23 September 2020
Sonya Duncan/Chris McAndrew/Parliament
Funding for dualling the A47 Acle Straight within ten years “remains possible”, a government minister has said - one week after Highways England officials announced the notorious road would not be included in the next wave of improvement schemes.
In a letter to MP Brandon Lewis, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, a Minister at the Department of Transport, said no decisions have yet been made on funding for the 2025 to 2030 period.
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At a meeting on September 16, Highways England officials told Norfolk County Council the long called for dualling of the nine-mile stretch of road will not happen for at least another decade.
The baroness said her interpretation of the announcement, after talking with Highways, was that although the Acle Straight will not be dualled over the next ten years, it does not mean the proposal has been ruled out for investment in the next phase, from 2025 to 2030.
“Although I have no doubt that the competition for funding will be fierce, the opportunity is very much there for the case to be made of improvements to the A47 by all supporters,” she said.
MORE: Acle Straight dualling: 15 times hopes were raised... And dashed again
Mr Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said he welcomed the “clarification”.
“Securing the funding of the Acle Straight is not going to be easy in the 2025-2030 period, but I welcome the clarification that it remains possible.
“As the Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth, I will continue to make the case forcefully for the need for this work, which would complement the already announced work on a Third River Crossing and improvements to the A47 roundabouts,” he added.
The region’s MPs reacted last week to the “disappointing” news, with some calling for a review and the break-up of the highways agency.
Campaigners and councillors warned the next chance to push for the scheme would be 2030, as people living in the coastal town stress safety fears.
The news had come just ten months after the prime minister pledged he would deliver the vital road project in the wake of several former governments’ broken promises, to end the misery of drivers facing accidents and delays on the single carriageway route.
MORE: A47 Acle Straight: The key issues around the calls for the road to be dualled
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