There was a long-running campaign for major improvements to the entire length of the road, with extensive dualling and upgraded junctions. But at a cost of £1.5bn, the money just wasn’t available.
While accepting that the A47 is a single strategic route, we split the improvements needed into 13 individual interventions – a mix of selected dualling, junction improvements and a new river crossing – with costs ranging from £2M to a £150M. We then used our economic modelling tool, TEAM, to analyse the net additional economic benefits of each sub-project and highlight where the greatest and fastest social and economic gains could be achieved.
Our analysis showed that, over 20 years, bringing forward improvements such as junction upgrades would result in the creation of 9600 jobs, construction of 3200 houses and investment of nearly £500M in local businesses, increasing the gross value added to the local community by £390M a year. It also provided important information that helped secure private sector and Local Enterprise Partnership funding for some of the projects. The first scheme –the Postwick hub on the Norwich Southern Bypass – gained funding and planning approval, and was completed in December 2015. The A47 is now one of Highways England’s six priority road schemes.