Dual the A120 for Olympic success
By James Hore DUALLING the A120 is a necessity if Britain is to succeed in its £2.4billion Olympic bid.Harwich MP Ivan Henderson said unless the major continental route was upgraded traffic in the East of England could come under enormous pressure in 2012.
By James Hore
DUALLING the A120 is a necessity if Britain is to succeed in its £2.4billion Olympic bid.
Harwich MP Ivan Henderson said unless the major continental route was upgraded traffic in the East of England could come under enormous pressure in 2012.
A Government spokesman confirmed that transport for people travelling to the games and ease of access would form a vital component of any bid to host the Olympics.
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Mr Henderson said: "Dualling the A120 would be the only way to stop the pressure."
The Haven Gateway Partnership also agreed that vital improvements needed for road, rail and sea links in Essex and the rest of East Anglia must not be forgotten during the push for the event.
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London's bid for the games in 2012 could offer a massive boost for the region's economy with tourism set to benefit with visitors to the capital just an hour away.
Possible improvements to the A12 and the dualling of the A120 have been thrust under the spotlight again and calls have been made for Harwich International Port to be improved.
The East Anglian Daily Times has run a high-profile campaign calling for the road to be upgraded – backed by more than 2,000 people who signed our petition.
Last year, Government consultants examining regional transport links under the LOIS (London to Ipswich) area study highlighted proposals to tackle existing and future transport problems in the London and Ipswich corridor.
Changes included dualling the A120 between Hare Green and Harwich to provide better port access and improve safety and possible long-term improvements to the A12.
Mr Henderson hoped the road would be dualled by 2012, when the Olympic Games could arrive.
He said: "There would be an increase in traffic and the only way to avoid this would be by dualling the road.
"We have to be positive about what the Olympic Games can bring to my constituency and the rest of the country and find solutions to any problems faced."
He added the improvements to the A120 were closely linked to the possible development at the town's port.
He added: "Without the development of the port we do not have such a big argument for the A120 to be dualled. At the end of the day, the key thing is development at the port of Harwich and I would urge people in my constituency, that if they want regeneration and economic developments, that their support and views need to be heard.
"If we were to host the Olympics we would need good enough infrastructure to cope with the changes and there would be a fair bit of traffic coming through the ports.
"When we were going for the bid for the 2006 World Cup we called on all the economic development departments within the district to come together to help make that bid a success."
He said the district had the potential to benefit from the games because it was a short enough distance from London to provide accommodation for visitors.
Director of the Haven Gateway Partnership, George Courtauld, said he feared even if the bid were successful the upgrades to the A12 and A120 could still be overlooked.
He said: "It would be excellent but everything could be so incompetently run it could cause chaos.
"If it does improve the local infrastructure that will be excellent and if people can come and see our area that is excellent.
"I would have thought those upgrades should tie in but the people involved may be thinking about London only. My feeling is that perhaps we won't benefit as we should."
He added there would be need to be upgrades to road and rail infrastructure and make the region more accessible to visitors as they arrived.
Previously the partnership identified key priorities in the region as dualling the A120 to Harwich and promotion of tourism links.
Tendring district councillor with responsibilities for regeneration and tourism, Mick Page, said: "The infrastructure of the area needs to be looked at and then if the bid is successful we could reap the benefits of being one of the official gateways into the country."
Last week it was revealed how some sporting events may be held in the region. Ipswich Town has already been approached by members of the National Olympic Committee to discuss using Portman Road stadium as a satellite venue for the 30th Olympiad.