Collisions on the A47 in Peterborough could reduce by 50 per cent under long-awaited plans to dual a stretch of the road.
Highways England on Tuesday revealed its latest proposals to dual the road between Wansford and Sutton which have now gone out for consultation.
The project, which is due to begin in the autumn of 2020, follows years of calls for the work to be carried out after a number of serious accidents, including a crash in 2013 which killed Stephen and Samantha Durber.
However, the decision to introduce new lanes south of the existing carriageway has come under heavy criticism from the chairman of the A47 Community Consultation - a group which represents the views of the parishes affected by the scheme.
Mick Grange, who used the be the chair of Sutton Parish Council, told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Highways England have chosen a preferred route which is flawed.
“It’s a perfectly reasonable route to go northwards. The chosen route does more environmental damage.
“Geophysical scanning has shown signs of archaeology to the south. Fifty to 60 trenches have been dug.
“It’s infringing on a wildlife site and going straight through an existing wood which has a preservation notice. There’s an oak tree which is well over 450 years old.
“We absolutely want the road - it’s important for safety but also efficiency in transport to really help the local economy.
“We don’t want to see anyone else killed on this road, but it’s not being thought through. There’s no reason whatsoever not to go to the north.” Mr Grange said a public meeting will be held to discuss the plans at Sutton church, Nene Way, on Wednesday at 7pm.
Speaking at the consultation launch at the Town Hall in Bridge Street, Claudia Wegener, senior project director at Highways England, said: “It’s important that the road is improved so we can support economic growth, and improve the journey times and make it safer for people.
“The journey time saving we are predicting by 2037 is over four minutes in the morning rush hour on the eastbound stretch.
“Improved access for local residents will increase road safety. The prediction is for about a 50 per cent reduction in personal collision rates.”
The scheme is expected to be finished by the winter of 2021/22. The cost is currently predicted to be between £50 million to £100 million.
Last week Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer sent a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for investment in 20 key transport infrastructure projects across East Anglia.
One of the projects is for the full dualling of the A47 between Lowestoft and Peterborough at an estimated cost of £1.4 billion.
The Highways England option for the A47 will see a new stretch of dual carriageway built around half a mile to the north of the existing A47 at the western end, before crossing to the south at the eastern end to join the existing dual carriageway at Nene Way.
There will also be a dedicated slip road from the A1 southbound to the A47 eastbound to alleviate congestion at the junction, while at the opposite end a new bridge will provide access to Sacrewell Farm.
Another bridge will carry the A47 over the disused railway line west of Sutton Heath Road.
The consultation runs until 11.59pm on Monday, October, 29. Have your say at: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a47-wansford-to-sutton-dualling or write to FREEPOST A47 Wansford to Sutton. The website also lists details of four public events where you can speak to members of Highways England.