West Norfolk’s MPs have hailed the opening of a new £100 million dual carriageway which they believe is a major boost to the drive for improvements to the A47.
The nine-mile stretch of the A11, near Thetford, was opened on Friday and completes the dualling of the route after decades of campaigning.
The ceremony came less than a fortnight after the government announced plans to spend £300 million on upgrading the A47, though none of it will be spent in this area.
But North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said that should be seen as a “down-payment” on getting the whole road dualled in the future and all the area’s politicians and business leaders need to maintain the pressure.
He said: “Now the A11 has been finished, we can really turn our attention to the A47. I’m not giving up until the whole of the A47 is dualled.”
Officials say the new A11 will generate around 20 times the amount spent on building it, while the A47 Alliance of politicians and business leaders which is fighting for improvements there claims a fully dualled road could generate more than £700 million a year in economic benefits.
South West Norfolk MP and environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said there was now “recognition” within government of Norfolk’s importance to the national economy.
The new road was opened by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who said: “This upgrade is part of the most ambitious, far-reaching roads programme for decades.
“It will not only benefit those who use the road every day but create jobs and opportunities, benefiting hardworking families across the east of England.”
He later said he hoped it was “a first instalment” of improved infrastructure for the region.
And he highlighted both the A47 and the A14 as other examples of government investment.