Major A47 improvement work planned for Peterborough and Guyhirn

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Thursday, 6am: A busy accident black spot on the A47 will become a duel carriageway in a new £60,000 scheme.

Work will start on the stretch of road at Wansford near the junction with the A1 in January 2015.

Shailesh Vara, Stewart Jackson and  Nicky Morgan MP looking at proposed improvements to the A47 from Wansford to Sutton. EMN-140112-171605009

Shailesh Vara, Stewart Jackson and Nicky Morgan MP looking at proposed improvements to the A47 from Wansford to Sutton. EMN-140112-171605009

The work will take place at the spot where Samantha and Stephen Durber were killed in August last year, leaving three year old Lucas without parents.

The news of the new works was welcomed by Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, who said: “I am pleased the government has identified this as a priority route. It is a strategic road into Peterborough and it is important we get it right.

“It has also been a very serious accident blackspot over the years, and we recently saw the awful tragedy where a child was left as an orphan.
“This will increase the road capacity into Peterborough.

“Although it is a relatively modest scheme in comparison to others announced across the country, it has been needed for many years.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said he had been calling for improvements for years.

He said: “It has been a long campaign, but we finally now have some funding to get the work done.

“This will help motorists get into Peterborough, which can help improve the economy of the area. I think it is good news all round.”

The funding is part of a national project to improve roads across the country, with £300 million being made available across the A47 route.

Secretary of state for education Nicky Morgan was at the announcement at Sacrewell Farm on Monday. She said: “Stewart Jackson and Shailesh Vara have lobbied hard to make the government aware of the problems here, including the tragic accident last year, but also in terms of making sure traffic flows freely and safely.”

Councillor John Holdich, deputy leader and cabinet member for education, skills and university at Peterborough City Council, said: “The A47 is a road of national strategic importance so we welcome news that the government will invest £300 million improving this route. The road links the Midlands with Eastern sea ports and acts as an economic artery that runs through Peterborough. The improvements will hopefully reduce journey times, overcome congestion and support our vision to see more local economic growth. They will also improve road safety, which is important as there have been 33 serious accidents on the road around Peterborough in the last five years.”

Mike Rooney, general manager at Sacrewell Farm located on the A47 at the junction where works will take place, said the changes would help the attraction bring in more visitors.

He said: “About 90,000 people visited us last year, but the A47 has always proved a very difficult road. There is a lot of congestion, and there have been a number of accidents in the past.

“From our point of view any improvements to the highway will make it easier for us and other attractions in Peterborough to bring in visitors.”

Guyhirn Roundabout

There will also be improvements on the A47 at the Guyhirn Roundabout near Wisbech.

Around 20,000 vehicles use the A47 trunk road between Guyhirn and Wisbech every day and congestion, particularly at peak times, acts as a barrier to development and jobs.

The council, which is part of the A47 Alliance, has long been campaigning with partners, such as Fenland District Council, Peterborough City Council, Norfolk County Council and local MP Steve Barclay, for the upgrade.

Latest estimates suggest that around £16 million needs to be invested to create a new larger junction linking the A47 with the A141 at Guyhirn to improve accessibility and reduce the lengthy delays.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of the economy and environment committee, said: “Anyone who has driven on the A47 knows just how congested it and how vital the route is to the prosperity of Peterborough, Fenland and beyond. I, with partners, have made the case to Government and ministers and it is pleasing to see they have listened and recognised the importance of this link. Improving the A47 is also part of the Wisbech2020 Vision and will help bring jobs as well as provide an easy and direct route for trade in and out of the Fenland area.”

Related: £300m upgrade to A47 among Government’s £15bn ‘road investment strategy’, 1 December

Regional schemes announced

• East of England - £300 million to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and A11.

• London and the South East - Improving one-third of the junctions on the entire M25, Britain’s busiest motorway.

• Midlands: improving the M42 to the east of Birmingham, improving the connectivity to Birmingham airport, the National Exhibition Centre, the local Enterprise Zone, and pave the way for the new High Speed 2 interchange station.

Read more about the major roads investment in the east of England at gov.uk