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Milestone for Norwich Northern Distributor Road as work to surface main carriageway starts

PUBLISHED: 11:38 27 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 May 2017

Asphalt is put down on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Asphalt is put down on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

A major milestone has been reached on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, with work under way to surface the main carriageway.

The route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. The route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road.

When complete, more than 150,000 tonnes of asphalt - weighing the equivalent of 15 Eiffel Towers - will be used on the NDR and the various side roads leading from it.

Work has started west of the A140 Cromer Road and heralds the beginning of a summer when ‘black top’ will be laid along the whole route of the 12.5 mile road, which will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road.

While some Tarmac has already been laid on side roads, this is the start of surfacing of the £178.5m road’s main drag.

By the end of May, more than 2,800 tonnes of asphalt - about the weight of 27 blue whales - produced at a coating plant set up by Tarmac at Postwick, will have been laid between Drayton Lane and the Fakenham Road.

Chris Sedman, project director for main contractor Balfour Beatty, said: “Seeing the ‘black top’ going down on the main dual carriageway is an exciting moment for the whole construction team.

“We carried out some base layer surfacing before the winter shut-down, but this signals the start of the main surfacing effort on the project and represents another landmark in construction.

“People will notice big changes over coming weeks – especially towards the western end.

“Overall, we’ve had a good start to the year, and in spite of recent rain, have been able to make good use of the long dry spell.”

Ian Taylor, project manager for Norfolk County Council, said: “The surface going down is a transformational moment on any new road – it changes from a construction site to a road in waiting.

“After putting up with all the disruption, people will be itching to use the new route, but they will have to be patient for a while longer.

“There’s a lot more to do even on the surfaced sections, and there are still some major challenges ahead, including completion of the big A140/NDR junction, and the elevated section over the Norwich to Sheringham railway line at Rackheath.”

Supporters of the road say it will bring an economic boost and speed up journey times, but critics say it will lead to more traffic and is destroying swathes of countryside.

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