Calls for bridge to stop A47 dualling work leaving villagers cut off
- Credit: Highways England
More effort is being made to protect "frogs and newts" than to stop villagers being cut off when part of the A47 is dualled, the deputy leader of Norfolk County Council has claimed.
Highways England said the £50m to £100m scheme, which would see a new dual carriageway built to the south of the existing road, will ease congestion.
But Norfolk County Council is dismayed that, despite discussions, the scheme does not include a crossing so cyclists and pedestrians can get between North Burlingham and Lingwood.
The agency said: "There is insufficient evidence to support the case for a new grade separated crossing of the new A47."
At a meeting of the council's planning and highways delegations committee, councillors agreed to back the principle of the scheme - but renewed calls for the bridge.
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Graham Plant, deputy leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said: "Not putting in a pedestrian or cycleway that helps move between the villages, I think it's a bit of a backwards view.
"We have got a paper here telling us all about the ecology and the environment and there's nothing in it for humans.
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"They are doing it all for a frog and a newt. What about the humans? There's villages between and they need to connect.
"You can't just put a road through the middle and say 'find your own way', it's just not on."
The committee also raised concerns over plans to detrunk the 'old' section of the A47 which would be superseded, as the job of maintaining that would fall on the council.
A planning inspector will consider representations from interested parties during an examination of the scheme in due course, before deciding whether to recommend a development consent order be granted.
If it is, work would start this time next year, to be completed in 2024/25.
The EDP has, through the Just Dual It! campaign, called for a commitment for more investment to dual the A47.