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Norfolk A47 Thickthorn roundabout: Delay fears over contractor switch

Jun 27, 2023Jun 27, 2023

A business group has expressed concern after it emerged a new contractor was being sought to carry out the redevelopment of a major road junction.

National Highways said it was retendering the construction of the Thickthorn roundabout where the A47 meets the A11, south of Norwich.

It said "commercial sensitivities" meant it could not reveal why its deal with Galliford Try was ending.

Norfolk Chamber of Commerce hoped it would not cause "further delay".

Its chief executive, Nova Fairbank, described the changes as "concerning" for the business community.

"This funding was delivered in 2014... and as yet we haven't seen any work start on the A47, particularly at Thickthorn roundabout," she said.

Ms Fairbank said Thickthorn, which brought traffic in from the south, was "an integral part" of Norfolk's road network and a "really important route".

"It's important that they appoint a contractor as soon as they possibly can to ensure that we don't get any further delays that result in potential further increases in cost," she added.

Three projects have been given the go-ahead by government for the A47, including the Thickthorn redevelopment.

These are a new dual carriageway and junctions between Blofield and North Burlingham,  plus another dual carriageway and junctions between North Tuddenham and Easton.

The plans had been on hold since December after environmental consultant and climate activist Andrew Boswell challenged the secretary of state for transport's decision to grant consent because of their potential carbon emissions.

In July, the campaigner failed in his bid to have the dual carriageway project halted. Mr Boswell planned to appeal the High Court's decision.

National Highways said in a statement that it was working with contractor Galliford Try to deliver "a package of preconstruction works" for the project.

"At that point, the contract with Galliford Try will come to an organised and managed end with a new contractor taking over the construction element."

The organisation would not comment on the reasons why the contract had ended and whether any costs would be incurred by the project as a result or through retendering.

National Highways also said work on the project was expected to start "as planned, next spring".

Galliford Try said it did not wish to comment.

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