More Progress for A47 Upgrades as Transport Committee hear latest news
Mayor reveals upbeat talks with transport minister about A47 ‘Gateway to the East’
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough informed members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Transport and Infrastructure Committee that transport minister Baroness Vere had told him yesterday that the A47 “needed a solution”.
Committee members heard how Highways England has agreed, following a previous meeting with Baroness Vere in January, that it will fund an assessment of the A47 between the A47 between the A16 and the Walton Highway east of Wisbech.
Highways England has already appointed a project manager to drive forward the work, which it started last month, and should complete by October.
Mayor Palmer has long argued that the A47 is vital to the Cambridgeshire, East Anglian, and UK economy and needs to be upgraded and dualled accordingly. Members of the transport committee welcomed news that Highways England is taking the work forward.
Deputy Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Councillor Jon Neish:
“I know full well – and too well – how dangerous this road is and also how strategically important it is for the rest of the region. Massive amounts of traffic come through. It really is vital and it’s taken a long, long while – that stretch past the river is notoriously dangerous and a horrendous bottleneck so I really do approve this scheme and welcome the support that can push it along and get it built”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough:
“I’m in agreement with Councillor Neish and members, the A47 isn’t merely a route that is dangerous, and is long overdue an upgrade, it is actually a Gateway to the East. Yesterday I was on a call with Baroness Vere and she mentioned the A47 several times as a route that needs a solution.
“Another reason our proposals have added merit, is that the current A47 needs around £300 million spent to upgrade the flood defences and it seems eminently sensible that we use that money as part of an improved new road, and create within that the wetland areas that are suggested to enhance the environment – giving us the ability, if we did that, to control river levels in Wisbech and March and further enhance tourism on the rivers that can really be improved on”.
So there’s a lot going for this A47 work that we’re doing – and for Highways England to say ‘Yes, we agree, let’s work together on the inside’ is a great leap forward. I will not rest until we get the OK for this, and put the funding in place to deliver it.
Dualling would bring:
- Vital connectivity to the north of the Combined Authority area and will complement other Combined Authority transport and infrastructure priorities, like Wisbech Rail and development of the new Garden Town at Wisbech.
- Route enhancement to stimulate economic growth in the north of Combined Authority’s region, in housing, education, employment, and the agri-tech economy.
- A safer strategic route offering improved journey times
The renewed work will use Highways England’s established Project Control Framework (PCF) process to review existing evidence, including that already delivered by the Combined Authority. It will also assess current and future network conditions, and review and identify options for improving the A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech.
The review will also be informed by other road proposals including options for the A47/A1101 roundabout junction already being developed by Highways England.
The updated final PCF documentation is expected to conclude by October 2021 and will be submitted to the DfT for consideration for further development work.