Options for ‘missing link’ of Norwich Northern Distributor Road to be revealed
PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 25 September 2017
The potential routes and costs to complete the so-called missing link of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road will be published within the next month.
Last year, Norfolk County Council agreed to make more than £400,000 available to explore how the NDR, currently under construction, could join the A47 to the west of Norwich.
A long-standing criticism of that multi-million road is that it does not join up with the A47 to the west of the city. Such a link was previously ruled out because the cost of crossing the River Wensum – designated as a special area of conservation – was prohibitive.
County Hall officers have been working with consultants Mouchel on a possible solution, known as the Western Link, and discussions have taken place with Natural England and the Environment Agency.
And next month will see the route appraisals, project costings and options for how the project could be funded reported to county councillors.
It is expected the report will confirm there is a case to continue with the project, but that money will be sought to “support the delivery of the project through its next phases.”
Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We have got lines on the map now, so we’ll be able to see some definite options soon.
“The Western Link is one of this administration’s three main transport priorities, so it’s good that we’ve made good strides over the past 12 months.”
Consultants had previously put forward 13 possible routes, with costs ranging from £28.3m to £102.5m, although those figures are now three years old.
The council, which is looking to make £100m of savings by 2022, would also have to establish a way to fund the road.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has said it will oppose any route across the Wensum Valley on environmental grounds, while the Wensum Valley Alliance is also against the link.
Meanwhile, the increased costs of the NDR itself, which will stretch from Postwick to the east to the A1067 Fakenham Road, still remain a mystery.
With the council negotiating with contractors Balfour Beatty over the extra cost, they are not saying how much more could be added to the bill.