A game of two halves

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So now we know officially what is the main roads priority for Norfolk County Council – and it is no surprise to discover it is not in our region in the west of the county.

No, according to an official report from County Hall, the Numero Uno priority for the county is dualling the Acle Straight, that notorious stretch of road coming out of Great Yarmouth and heading in the direction of Norwich.

Now the Acle Straight does have a terrible history for road accidents, but according to many people living in that part of the county, the answer is not to dual the road, but to clamp down on dangerous driving.

It’s a long, very straight road, but it is narrow, with dykes close by the sides, and the main complaint from locals is that some motorists are tempted to go much too fast, then get into trouble when they reach the bend half-way along the road. They don’t allow enough time to slow down and have very little room to manoeuvre, with dire consequences.

The answer would seem to be strict speed limits backed up with draconian use of speed cameras at regular intervals to hammer home the message. A High-Vis police presence with patrol cars might also be useful, but that is perhaps asking too much with the limited resources available in this department.

This would all seem to be more sensible than the highly expensive tactic of providing a dual carriageway, and any monies for a project of this nature could then be spent elsewhere – preferably in under-funded West Norfolk.

Mind you, close inspection of the county council’s missive on the proposal might also give a clue to other motives by those in the eastern half of Norfolk.

Dualling the Acle Straight would pretty much give Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft access to the national dual carriageway grid, allowing them to link up with the A11 at Norwich, when the final bits of the A47 between Norwich and Acle are dualled in the near future.

That would leave the eastern half of Norfolk happily linked into the national dual carriageway network, and those of us over in the west of the county still struggling with our out-dated roads infrastructure.

Would the county council then turn their attention to improving the A47, or would they then decide to concentrate their energies on getting a link from their new Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47 on the western side of Norwich?

With the county council’s track record in dealing with West Norfolk’s interests in recent times, could we trust them on this one?

If anything, the two sides of Norfolk, east and west, seem further apart than at any time in living memory. Perhaps it’s time we all went our own separate ways – we in the west could hardly get worse treatment than the manner in which we are continually ignored today.