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Milestone bridge on £178.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road takes shape

PUBLISHED: 13:55 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:35 20 January 2017

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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A bridge which will one day carry thousands of cars travelling on the £178.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road is taking shape.

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A crane, which costs £8.000 a day to hire, has hoisted the 26 beams for the bridge, which will carry the 12.5 mile road over Plumstead Road, into place.

The bridge is one of eight along the route of the under construction road and the first to have its beams installed. Eventually, six will go over the dual carriageway while two, including this one, will carry the NDR itself.

The other of that type will carry the NDR, which will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, over the Norwich to Sheringham railway line.

Work on the bridge started on Tuesday, delayed a day because of last week’s snow and wind. The work has meant a three-day closure of Plumstead Road. The road is due to reopen tomorrow.

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Norfolk County Council deputy project manager Tim Ellis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Norfolk County Council deputy project manager Tim Ellis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chris Sedman, project director for main contractor Balfour Beatty, said: “Getting the first bridge beams in place is another important milestone – especially since it is at Plumstead Road.

“Along with the adjoining railway bridge, it’s one of the key structures on the route. We aim to have the steel beams over the railway in place in April, and once we are able to bring bulk material across the railway we will be able to focus on the Middle Road bridge.”

Ian Taylor, project manager for Norfolk County Council, said the support of the local community was greatly appreciated. “We know that sometimes we cannot avoid making life difficult for people, but we have been heartened that so many share our view that completing construction as soon as possible is best for us all.”

Supporters of the NDR, which contractors hope could be ready to take traffic by the end of this year, say the road will reduce congestion in the city, stop rat-running and provide an economic boost for the country.

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Opponents argue it will not lead to significant reductions in traffic, but will mean housing is built on swathes of countryside.

Others are unhappy that the road does not link to the A47 to the west of the city. That plan was originally mooted but was rejected because of the problems in crossing the Wensum Valley - a site of special scientific interest.

County councillors have made clear they hope that link could be made possible in the future, but concede that would be years away, if it is feasible at all.

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NDR bridge over Plumstead Road is installed. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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