A47 North Tuddenham to Easton Improvement
As lead design partner to Galliford Try, we secured appointments on two lots of Highways England’s Regional Delivery Partnership (RDP) framework providing design services for schemes in the East and South West regions over £100m.
The A47 is part of the East RDP and an important connection linking the cities of Norwich and Peterborough, the towns of Wisbech, Kings Lynn, Dereham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and a succession of villages in what is largely a rural area.
One of six projects proposed on the A47, this scheme comprises upgrading the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton in Norfolk to a dual carriageway. This will complete the dual carriageway between Norwich and Dereham, supporting economic growth and easing congestion in the area.
As well as 9km of new dual carriageway, two new grade separated junctions and seven structures are proposed. The proposals provide extensive new routes while also retaining a significant amount of the existing A47 for local access, walking, cycling and horse riding.
There were several route options at option identification stage. The preferred route was announced in August 2017 and Option 2 was chosen. Option 2 was one of the two most favoured options: it solves the traffic and safety problems and has the least impact on the environment.
As a result of feedback received at the consultation, Option 2 was refined taking the route away from the existing A47 to the south of Hockering and to the north of Honingham. Sections of the existing road can remain open for local traffic, walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Since then work has included design development of:
- two grades separated all movement junctions at Wood Lane and Norwich Road
- local road network connections
- seven structures
- a walking, cycling and horse riding strategy
The proposed scheme will significantly improve journey time reliability on this section of the A47. It will also reduce congestion and delays on minor roads for local traffic to access the A47.
By 2025, the scheme is predicted to cut journey time by five minutes at peak times between the A47 Longwater junction and A47 Fox Lane junction.
The proposed new two-tier Wood Lane and Norwich Road junctions will also alleviate delays. In 2025 vehicles travelling between the Fox Lane junction and the Longwater junction can expect journey time savings of approximately five minutes in peak traffic.
Journey time savings will increase to seven minutes by 2040.
Road drainage and the water environment
The proposed road crosses the River Tud at Alder Carr where a new bridge is planned across the river, with new drainage culverts, maintaining local watercourses below the A47 carriageway.
To prevent pollution, best practice mitigation measures during construction will be implemented such as the safe storage of materials away from drains and watercourses.
To help reduce the risk of flooding, a flood risk assessment was undertaken to inform the designs of the surface water drainage system and a sustainable drainage system will be implemented. This involved detail liaison and engagement with the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authority.
Analysis shows that the accident figures for this section of existing single carriageway road are twice the national average for Highways England A-roads.
The two proposed junctions will result in the closure of 41 existing direct accesses to the A47 road being removed, improving safety and connections to and from the A47 for local residents.
Overall, the scheme will result in safety improvements to help reduce the number of casualties on this section of the road network.
Protecting the environment is a key consideration in our A47 North Tuddenham to Easton proposals. Our environmental surveys and assessments have been developed and our proposals are included in the design where practical. We have engaged with key statutory consultees including the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
This engagement is ongoing and is helping to identify practical measures to reduce the environmental effects and deliver wider benefits such as protecting wildlife and their habitats and controlling noise for residents in Noise Action Planning Areas as shown on the scheme plan.
The proposals provide new routes connecting communities whilst also retaining a significant amount of the existing A47 for local access, walking, cycling and horse riding.
Extensive consultation with the local communities has been in place since 2017 and will continue through to construction with appropriate mitigation measures to minimise disruption during construction.
The Result and Benefit to the Client
Once constructed the A47 Tuddenham to North Easton will:
- help sustainable economic growth by supporting employment and residential development opportunities
- reduce congestion and delays, make journey times more reliable and increase the overall traffic capacity of the A47
- improve road safety for all road users
- help the road cope better with incidents such as collisions and breakdowns, as well as maintenance and extreme weather