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Mix and match over link road

PUBLISHED: 14:03 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 21 May 2010

A £6.7m “mix and match” scheme has emerged as the favourite option to end the long-running saga of creating a new link road between the A47 and A1067.

The debate has rumbled on for several years about how best to improve the road and especially take lorries out of villages such as Hockering, Weston Longville and Lenwade.

A £6.7m “mix and match” scheme has emerged as the favourite option to end the long-running saga of creating a new link road between the A47 and A1067.

The debate has rumbled on for several years about how best to improve the road and especially take lorries out of villages such as Hockering, Weston Longville and Lenwade.

The area covered by the link road route covers 22 parishes.

More than 500 people and businesses have responded to consultation by Norfolk County Council on five possible options for the link road.

A sixth option was also put forward by some businesses and parish councils - but that has been ruled out by the county council as it would cost £10m.

The county council cabinet is due to discuss the project on January 29.

And a draft copy of a report by council officers has been published showing a “combined” option which would cost £6.7m.

It would use parts of options one and three from the consultation and would be done in three phases - from the A47 Wood Lane junction to the Sandy Lane junction at the war memorial, then across the old airfield and then involve improvements to Weston Hall Road.

The scheme will have to be funded by the county council as it will not get support from the government for it.

The draft report was due to be discussed yesterday by a county council review panel, who will add their views to the cabinet.

Planning officers say it would minimise extra traffic flow past properties and would be the second shortest route.

They conclude: “It is recommended that option one and three be taken forward for further more detailed investigation including talking with those people directly affected, before a final decision on a route is taken and that this further work be taken forward during 2008/9 subject to funds being available.”

During the consultation, questionnaires were sent to about 1800 homes and businesses. Just over 500 were returned.

85pc of those who responded said the link road needed to be improved.

There are currently 2200 vehicle movements through Hockering per day - including 340 HGVs.

On the road towards Lenwade the numbers rise to 2600 - including 690 HGVs.

Traffic flow on the road through Weston Longville is 2700 vehicles per day, but with a low percentage of HGVs.

The report by officers says: “Whilst these flows are significant for residents of Hockering and Weston Longville, they are by no means unique across Norfolk and other communities having equal and in some cases worse problems from HGV traffic. The solution for HGVs in Hockering must therefore be proportional and affordable to ensure value for money and equity with other communities with similar problems.”

There has been some support locally for the link road improvements to be tied in to creating a single new roundabout on the A47 at the Wood Lane junction to tackle the safety problems along the main road.

But the Highways Agency has decided to put a £1.8m roundabout at the Mattishall Road junction - which has become a crash blackspot - and work is due to start this summer and be completed by next March.

*To see the whole report about the link road go the Norfolk County Council website: www.norfolk.gov.uk. Click on to “committees” from the home page and follow the link to Planning, Transportation, Environment and Waste Review Panel.

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