A multi-million-pound project to improve safety and reduce congestion on the A47 in Peterborough has been given the green light by the transport minister Huw Merriman. 

The minister has approved the National Highways’ plans to transform a 1.6-mile single section of the A47 between Wansford and Sutton into a dual carriageway with the granting of a development consent order (DCO).

A DCO is a way of obtaining planning permission for a project which is seen as nationally important for the infrastructure of the country. 

The changes will also see a new free-flow link road constructed between the southbound A1 and the eastbound carriageway of the A47 to alleviate frequent congestion.

Improvements will also be made to nearby roundabouts and junctions, as well as new and enhanced routes for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. 

The scheme also aims to provide an overall positive Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), which will be realised through a focus to retain existing habitats and to compensate any habitat loss through the creation of new habitats such as, grassland, hedgerows, ponds and woodland.

Granting the DCO means work on the project could begin this spring with completion expected by winter 2024/25. 

This scheme, which could cost up to a £100 million, is one of six major improvement projects and almost half a billion pounds of investment National Highways plans to deliver on the 115-mile section of the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth. 

The first of these – a £17 million upgrade to Guyhirn - officially opened in May last year.   

All six projects are designed to improve safety and reduce journey times on the A47, which is currently one of the country’s most dangerous A-roads. 

Traffic data suggests the section of the A47 between the Wansford junction with the A1 and the Nene Way roundabout near Sutton carries over 34,000 vehicles each day. 

Following the proposed improvements, casualty projections over the next 60 years indicate that as many as 42 fatal or serious injury collisions could be prevented, with up to 160 fewer accidents. 

Chris Griffin, programme Leader for the A47 National Highways, said:  

“This news is very welcome and is testament to the hard work and professionalism of all those who have contributed to getting the proposals granted in this important planning decision.  

“Those who regularly travel on this section of the A47 will know what a bottleneck it can be. Our plans will relieve that problem, make the road safer, and improve journey times.” 

The government currently faces legal challenges on three other National Highways projects on the A47 near Norwich.

Mr Griffin added: “As we continue to work through the legal process for the schemes that have been challenged, we know from our recent public information events that improvements to the A47 are supported by local people.”