New link road opened as NDR team aims for March 2018 completion
PUBLISHED: 21:13 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:02 26 July 2017
A key link road in the Norwich Northern Distributor Road projecthas been opened, as the construction team said a March 2018 completion date was still the goal.
Ian Taylor, project manager for Norfolk County Council, has confirmed the road definitely will not be open by Christmas, and is more likely to open around the original estimate of the end of March 2018.
The date has been pushed back due to building issues in the Rackheath area, and while the contract could technically continue until July next year, it is hoped that it will be finished earlier.
Mr Taylor said: “The current contract programme doesn’t show completion until the end of July but we’re working hard to better that, and we’re convinced we can better that.”
The news came as a link road connecting the Holt Road to the NDR was opened yesterday.
The New Drayton Road will link the B1149 to Reepham Road, and will cross the NDR at a roundabout around half a mile down the road.
Councillors from both Drayton Parish Council and Horsford Parish Council marked the opening as the “beginning of the end” of traffic disruption in the area.
The link carriageway will become fully operational when the parallel-running road Holly Lane is closed tomorrow, with Holt Road closing on August 21.
It is hoped that the road will not only ease congestion, but will also lead to fewer traffic collisions.
Brian Blythe, chairman of Horsford Parish Council, said: “The Old Drayton Lane twists and turns and a fair few scrapes and incidents happened along there.”
Despite this advantage, traffic is expected to still be stacked along the Reepham Road until the NDR turning from New Drayton Lane to Norwich is complete.
Mr Blythe said: “We just want the thing to be finished. We’ve got a couple of months ahead where all traffic going into Norwich will be going down the Reepham Road but it won’t be for long.”
John Birchall, NDR community liaison officer, added: “The section of the NDR which will travel into Norwich from Drayton Lane will open about eight to 10 weeks after the Holt Road is closed.”
Mr Taylor also hit back at claims that staff were not working hard enough on the construction, saying: “It’s twelve-and-a-half miles long and you can only see about 5pc of that from public highways.
“We have gatesmen and people watching the traffic to make sure everyone’s safe, they’re doing their job and would you want to be sat down for 12 hours a day?”