Now dual the Acle Straight

Liz Coates Campaigners pressing for a dualled A47 Acle Straight were upbeat this week following news that another long-awaited Norfolk dualling campaign had been brought forward.

Liz Coates

Campaigners pressing for a dualled A47 Acle Straight were upbeat this week following news that another long-awaited Norfolk dualling campaign had been brought forward.

Adding to the pressure to improve safety on the treacherous single carriageway was this week's motorcyclist fatality adding another name to the mounting death toll.

Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright said transport secretary Geoff Hoon's decision to promote the once-shelved dualling of the Elvedon stretch of the A11 was good news for the borough and an indication that Yarmouth's own dualling campaign could move up the priority list.

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And he called on all the agencies who supported the A11 campaign to switch their focus to Yarmouth to help it to end decades of campaigning as well.

Mr Wright: “I take comfort from the fact that the government has brought forward a scheme that has been shelved and shelved. In 1996 it was taken out altogether and now it is a scheme again looking at the experimental removal of the ditches. That is a move in the right direction. The comfort I take from the announcement that the A11 is being dualled early is that other projects might move forward. All is not lost.

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“I have always argued that the Acle Straight dualling is for safety reasons and when you have another death that heightens that fact.

“I shall be continuing my efforts to push it up the agenda. It's no good me saying its going to done in the next five years because it wont. We need the support of the county council and EEDA. We supported the A11 campaign, now we need their support for the A47.”

Mr Wright went on to confidently predict that the Blofield stretch once dubbed “the killing zone” would be the next section to be dualled, adding: “Its an easier project and in an accident blackspot.”

“We will continue with the campaign. The A11 was always going to be done before the Acle Straight and now that has been brought forward we can focus attention on the next priority.”

Adrian Gunson, chairman of the A47 Alliance said the announcement indicated the government understood the need for better infrastructure in Norfolk but added that because our trunk roads were not considered of national importance local schemes had to compete against each other.

He voiced frustration over the “tangle” of bureaucracy that was holding up progress on the Acle Straight dyke survey when lives and Great Yarmouth's prosperity were at stake.

But he said the Blofield/Burlingham stretch was more like the A11 one and “could probably start in two years time with a fair wind.”

The motorcyclist was killed on Tuesday morning after he was involved in a collision with a box van on the Acle Straight. The crash happened at 11.30am when the Honda CBF 500 travelling towards Yarmouth collided with the van heading in the other direction 50m short of the Halvergate. Police said the motorcyclist died at the scene of the crash and was in his late 30's or early 40's. He is not thought to be from the Norfolk area. The driver and the passenger in the blue Mercedes van suffered minor injuries. The road was closed for several hours.

Anyone with information who may have witnessed the crash should contact PC Anthony Foister of Acle road policing unit on 0845 4564567.

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