Study to look at scheme that would bring motorway closer to West Norfolk

Officials are to look into whether a scheme to extend the M11, bringing its northern end closer to West Norfolk, is feasible
Officials are to look into whether a scheme to extend the M11, bringing its northern end closer to West Norfolk, is feasible

A feasibility study is to be conducted into a scheme which could at least halve drivers’ journeys from West Norfolk to the nearest motorway.

Currently, motorists have to drive for nearly an hour from Lynn to reach the area’s nearest motorways – the M11 near Cambridge or the A1(M) near Peterborough.

But more than £1 million is now set to be spent on work to examine whether the M11 could be extended to meet up with the A47, south of Wisbech.

If that happened, it would cut the distance drivers have to travel to get to a motorway from a minimum of 40 miles to just over 20.

Around £1.25 million is being provided by the newly established Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority to fund the study, which will determine if it is feasible to extend the route from its currently northern end point near Cambridge, where it currently joins up with the A14, to the area around Wisbech and Guyhirn.

The body, which only took up office earlier this year, has also committed a further £500,000 to developing a business case for full dualling of the A47, plus funds to look at potential improvements to the A10.

The authority’s mayor, James Palmer, said: “We are committed to working together to bring forward much needed development to boost the future economic growth of our region.”

The authority was established as part of the devolution process which saw plans put forward for a similar body covering Norfolk and Suffolk.

However, they were scrapped last November after West Norfolk Council, and other district authorities, emphatically rejected the idea.

But Charles Roberts, the Cambridgeshire authority’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “Devolution has given us the power to consider bold and innovative solutions to overcome long-standing infrastructure needs.

“We will work hard to ensure that the most effective solutions are thoroughly investigated to ensure they can be delivered.”