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Fight for cash for road schemes

PUBLISHED: 12:29 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:58 05 July 2010

EAST Anglian communities campaigning for long-awaited road improvements were last night warned that they face an even tougher fight due to lack of government cash.

EAST Anglian communities campaigning for long-awaited road improvements were last night warned that they face an even tougher fight due to lack of government cash.

Fortunately, funding to dual the final stretch of the A11 from Barton Mills to Thetford has already been secured and work should start in 2010 and be finished in 2013.

It is among 21 transport schemes in the East of England which have got half the £1.2bn budget from the government up to 2018/19.

Some of the projects have already been completed and the list includes the A11 Attleborough bypass and the South Lowestoft relief road.

But three Norfolk schemes - the £116.5m Norwich northern distributor road, the £53m A47 dualling from Blofield to North Burlingham and the £34m Long Stratton bypass - will have to battle with 32 other projects worth £900m chasing just £80m over the next five years.

Those that are unsuccessful will go into a pot with 65 other schemes to bid for the remaining £500m up to 2018/19.

Within that 65 - which can only start bidding after 2013/14 - are the A47 Acle Straight dualling, the A47 Middleton-East Winch dualling, the A47 North Tuddenham-Easton dualling, junction improvements on the A47 at King's Lynn, on the Norwich southern bypass and at Vauxhall and Gapton Hall at Yarmouth, the A10 West Winch bypass, the Yarmouth third river crossing, the Norwich rapid transit scheme, the A11 Fiveways junction, the Lowestoft third crossing, the A1065 Brandon bypass and the Lowestoft access package.

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) warned there would be fierce competition for the schemes due to the limited government money.

The full regional assembly will discuss transport priorities at its meeting in Norwich on January 30 and recommendations have to be made to the government by the end of February.

John Reynolds, EERA chairman, said: “Whilst we are pleased to give our advice, we are disappointed that recent government announcements have not significantly increased the funding pot for transport in the region.”

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