Highways Bosses Confirm Appointment of New Firm for Thickthorn Junction Revamp

Highways bosses have confirmed that a new firm will be appointed to build the revamped Thickthorn junction, with an estimated cost of up to £100 million. The previous contractor, Galliford Try, will no longer be continuing with the project, and the contract will be retendered. The decision to change contractors is being hailed as an effort to ensure good value for money, although the specific reasons for the change have not been disclosed due to commercial sensitivity.

Despite the change in contractor, work will still commence as scheduled in spring next year. Galliford Try will continue with the preparatory work for the project, with the new contractor taking over the construction phase. The plans for the Thickthorn junction include a new slip road, a segregated left-hand turn for eastbound travelers, a footbridge, and a fourth lane on the southern part of the junction. Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has already given approval for the project to proceed, following a public inquiry and a recommendation from planning inspector Matthew Shrigley.

Environmental campaigner Dr. Andrew Boswell, who has previously challenged the legality of the Thickthorn plans, believes that the change in contractor could lead to an increase in project costs. However, highways bosses are confident that the appointment of a new contractor will not impact the start date of construction.

This development comes amidst a long history of delays in the A47 improvement projects in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. It was announced in 2014 that £300 million would be allocated for major changes to the A47, but work has yet to begin. The appointment of a new contractor for the Thickthorn junction revamp raises further concerns about the progress of these crucial road developments.

Despite the uncertainties surrounding the project, preparatory work on all three A47 schemes, including archaeological surveys, will continue. National Highways in the East has assured the public that they are taking necessary steps toward full construction and that work is being carried out to divert utility pipes and cables, install fencing, and construct compounds in preparation for major building work.