Update: Drivers warned that A47 near Norwich will be closed tonight and tomorrow night as 18 months of work gets underway

Roads protestors disrupted the ceremony at the start of work on Postwick Hub. Photo: Bill Smith Roads protestors disrupted the ceremony at the start of work on Postwick Hub. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
7:32 AM

Drivers have been warned that the eastbound carriageway of the A47 near Norwich will be shut tonight and tomorrow as work begins to transform the Postwick junction.

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New roads

The changes to the Postwick junction are complicated and will dramatically change the face of the road network to the east of Norwich.

A number of slip roads will be closed on and off the A47, to be replaced by new slip roads, three new roundabouts, a traffic-light controlled junction, three new drainage lagoons and 1.5km of new dual carriageway.

There will also be a new link to the Postwick park-and-ride site, including yet another roundabout at the junction of the A1042 and Oaks Lane.

The changes are needed, the county council says, because the current junction is at capacity and would not be able to cope with any further developments.

At the inquiry into the scheme last summer, critics of the proposals said the changes would inconvenience drivers and add extra time to their journeys.

Stephen Heard, spokesman for Stop Norwich Urbanisation, told the inquiry the design of the scheme was “inextricably” linked to the Norwich northern distributor road and the joint core strategy.

Work to create what is known as the Postwick Hub - the junction to the east of Norwich where the A47 meets Yarmouth Road - started yesterday and will continue today.

While Norfolk County Council says the junction changes - which will see new roundabouts, roads and a bridge - are essential to cope with extra traffic in the future, there will be plenty of pain for drivers while the construction is carried out over the next 18 months.

Throughout the work, the eastbound carriageway of the A47 will be shut at Postwick, with a 50mph speed limit.

Protective barriers will be installed tonight. That will mean the A47 will be closed eastbound between the A146 Trowse junction and Postwick between 8pm and 6am tonight and tomorrow night. Thursday and Friday will be used if the work is not completed.

A gateway to the Norwich northern distributor road

The Postwick Hub is seen as the gateway to the Norwich northern distributor road.

Norfolk County Council has always stressed the scheme is needed on its own merits.

But for objectors, it is an over-engineered project designed chiefly to act as the stepping-off point to a scheme detractors have dubbed the road to nowhere.

Norfolk County Council wants to build the £148.5m, 19.5km dual-carriageway road from the A47 at Postwick, to the east of the city, to the A1067 Fakenham Road, to the north west.

The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m and fast-tracked it through the planning system.

That means the Planning Inspectorate will weigh up evidence before making a recommendation on whether to grant a development consent order.

That will involve a six-month examination period, with a preliminary meeting due to be held on June 2.

The inspector appointed is Elizabeth Hill, who also conducted the public inquiry into the ill-fated King’s Lynn incinerator.

It is likely to run until November.

After that, Mrs Hill will have three months to make a recommendation.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will then have a further three months to make a final decision.

The council says the road will bring a huge economic boost and improvements such as a rapid-bus transit in Norwich.

But critics say it will lead to rat-running and concrete over swathes of the countryside.

The official diversion route - which is a lengthy one - is via the A146 Trowse Bypass towards Beccles, the A143 to Bradwell, the A12 around Great Yarmouth and the A47 to Norwich.

Full closures of the A47 will be needed next year (50 weeks into the contract) while the new bridge is built.

Traffic will be diverted via the slip roads, without need for a lengthy diversion.

Work will be carried out by Birse Civils, part of Balfour Beatty.

Drivers set for delays

While the county council argues that the junction changes are essential to cope with extra traffic, there will be plenty of pain for drivers while the construction is carried out.

The work is set to last for 18 months.

Throughout the period, a lane of the eastbound carriageway of the A47 will be shut at Postwick, with a 50mph speed limit also in place.

Protective barriers will be installed next week.

The A47 will be closed eastbound between the A146 Trowse junction and Postwick between 8pm and 6am on Tuesday and Wednesday. It may also be shut on Thursday and Friday if the work is not completed on time.

The official diversion route – which is a lengthy one – is via the A146 Trowse bypass towards Beccles, the A143 to Bradwell, the A12 around Great Yarmouth and the A47 to Norwich.

Full closures of the A47 will be needed next year (50 weeks into the contract) while the new bridge is built.

Traffic will be diverted via the slip roads, without need for a lengthy diversion.

Council leaders say the junction changes will be a shot in the arm for the Norfolk economy, saying it will enable a new business park and new homes to be built.

They say a lack of current capacity at the junction has prevented housing development and business expansion plans going ahead.

But campaigners who argued against it at a public inquiry held in the summer said the project is over-engineered, a waste of money, would cause traffic problems and would lead to communities nearby being swamped with homes.

The changes to the junction will also create a potential connection to the controversial Norwich Northern Distributor Road, if it gets the go-ahead.

New homes

The area around Postwick is earmarked for 1,600 new houses in the years ahead.

That’s the figure in the joint core strategy – a blueprint for where development should happen by 2026.

Some 600 homes have already got planning permission.

Proposals for those homes at Brook Farm and Laurel Farm secured planning permission from Broadland District Council last summer.

The permission is for the development of 57 hectares of farmland on the edge of Dussindale, with 600 new homes, an extension to Broadland Business Park, a railway halt, a link road and a local centre.

However, while Norfolk County Council says the junction changes are necessary to serve the expanding area, the developers behind the scheme – the Lothbury Trust – actually did not want the Postwick Hub.

They had put forward their own alternative £2m proposals to improve the junction.

Great and Little Plumstead Parish Council and Thorpe St Andrew Parish Council have also raised concerns over the extra traffic which will be generated.

Norfolk County Council wants to build the £148.5m, 19.5km dual carriageway road from the A47 at Postwick to the east of the city to the A1067 Fakenham Road to the northwest.

The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m and fast-tracked it through the planning system.

That means the Planning Inspectorate will weigh up evidence before making a recommendation on whether to grant a development consent order.

That will involve a six-month examination period, with a preliminary meeting due to be held on June 2.

The inspector appointed is Elizabeth Hill, who also conducted the public inquiry into the ill-fated King’s Lynn incinerator.

It is likely to run until November.

After that, Mrs Hill will have three months to make a recommendation.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will then have a further three months to make a final decision.

The council says the road will bring a huge economic boost and improvements, such as a rapid bus transit in Norwich.

But critics say it will lead to rat-running and concrete over swathes of the countryside.

22 comments

  • Please get on with it, the land owners and developers need to get their pockets filled as soon as possible ta

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    Rob_H

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • The current junction is at capacity say the council. What a load of old bunkum.

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    DJ

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • This must go down as yet another failure of the GNobbs administration. He has had countless opportunities to delay the start of this until after the public inquiry, or at least ensure the work here made driveable sense, but he has opted to rubber stamp all the previous administration's insa.nities. What else has he been up to behind the scenes before his term as leader is up in 2 weeks? This man should not be in politics let alone a position of authority.

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    Honest John

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Yet another very expensive road modification of questionable value! I spend my time in the car bouncing around on third world roads in dire need of repair,while councils sanction long winded traffic schemes that cause massive disruption,and cost the taxpayer thousands! It's no good spending money like this when existing roads are clapped out and in some cases dangerous, especially to cyclists and motor bikers!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Go to the NCC website. Search for Postwick Hub and then follow the link to te newsletter. It says that a lane of the Eastbound carriageway will be closed during the work. Hence the 50 mph limit, and that the whole carriageway will be closed for two nights in order to put up safety barriers. Hence the crazy diversion.

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    Sugarbeet

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Correct Andy, the article contradicts itself "closed, with a 50mph limit" .. does traffic leave the A47 at Trowse, go through Thorpe, then find it cannot get back onto the A47 except by going through Plumstead or Blofield. And all for the NDR that might not be approved ... anyone think Bernie Ecclestone might want to use it ... ? Did we really elect those councillors?

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    Patrick

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • The full map or plan of the new junction is on the NCC website. If this 'development' is to improve traffic capacity, all I can say is that there will still be only one lane off the A47 from the west so how can that increase capacity. It will make for a longer traffic queue but that's it!! This article is very poorly written and it is impossible to guess what will actually happen. If all the traffic has to get off at the Trowse junction, that part off the city is going to quickly degenerate into total gridlock for everything wanting to get into the east side of the city off the A47. And of course getting back onto the A47 will be equally bad.

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    andy

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • Pointless building this junction without the NDR being built from it at the same time. Having got through the lights at Thorpe Sainsbury's and the nearby mini-roundabout and so on, you won't be able to directly access the A47 from the last roundabout. You couldn't make it up.

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    Capri

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • Tone the moan-no one I know wants to see the county kept in the dark ages-only someone who doesnt know the history of the county would ever think it was still there in the first place. What people dont want is speculative development which is not to fulfil a local need but deliberately designed to exploit the image of broadland villages to attract yet more retirees from London , commuters and heaven help us, buy to let landlords filling the places with those moving out of urban boroughs because housing benefits wont cover the rents there.There has already been indication that the city will not be able to provide the jobs needed by the number of residents in the developments speculated if they are built too quickly.. Nor do we want to pay, from our council tax, for ill designed roads to service the developers' needs and masquerading as a northern distributor road. The southern by pass is good, it surpassed expectations, but it ( and soon the A11) is the only decent stretch of road in the county, The NDR will not be a patch on it, because of the design it could prove a queue making failure and it is hard to see what proof NCC has of how much effect it will have on Norwich's traffic flow. The Postwick hub looks an over complicated solution and if the NDR comes to nothing, perhaps a further upset in the economy, an expensive mistake. It is hard to understand why the work could not have been done concurrently with NDR work if it is approved.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • Its because NCC always starts early, see incinerator, and then blames objectors for not having their s... together. 18 month disruption for what? so that HGV's can still cut through the City, rather than going round it to the east? And the contractors are which local firms? employing local people? Possible but unlikely. Expect massive Green Party protests, putting their bodies and arguments in the way... Mind, they are too busy trying to get elected and this is not Twyford Down, when Greens had guts. I'm too old for kipping on top of a tree again, so count me out.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • This is clearly part of the NDR plans, so why is it being started before the public inquiry begins?

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    Honest John

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • Motor Vechicles ! Build more roads and they will come !

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    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • 'The official diversion route - which is a lengthy one....' and then .... 'Traffic will be diverted via the slip roads, without need for a lengthy diversion.' Which, what, where, why ???? Please clarify ...

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    Patrick

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • "Throughout the work, the eastbound carriageway of the A47 will be shut at Postwick, with a 50mph speed limit." What does this mean??? If the road will be shut ... why impose a speed limit?

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    Patrick

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • Does it REALLY mean that the diversionshort cut from Trowse to BrundallLingwood will actually be via Beccles, Great Yarmouth and Acle? REALLY. Instead of about 7 miles, has anyone worked out how far that will be? Will the County Council reimburse residents of the local villages .. just as a boost to our personal economies?

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    Patrick

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • Some people want to keep this part of the world in the dark ages, mainly nimby's, tree huggers and ex Londer's looking for a quiet retirement. The City need home's, job's and investment, this along with improvements to the A47 will help.

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    Tone the moan

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • For a map, visit the OpenStreetMap (dot org) website and zoom in to the eastern A47 junction of Norwich. You can also see the planned NDR on there too as a proposed route.

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    Pink Duck

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • DJ there is-it took a lot of googling to find the final-I think it was on NCC website.It is horrendous and it looks as if it will solve nothing as a stand alone. Are they serious about this closure of the east bound carriage way for the duration and the west bound made two way or have I misread the article ? They really cant manage to do some of the work and leave both carriage ways open? The queues are going to be horrendous, bad enough queuing from the Cantley turn to Blofield at peak times . As for diversions-they should all have to state the point at which a road can be rejoined so drivers can make their own routes.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • Is there a map of what theyre trying to achieve? Nothing wrong with it now, only needs changing for the NDR, so that is going ahead then!

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    DJ

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • About to get underway .....just as holiday makers start using the A47 to get to the coast. Oh, but they are on holiday so a shoooooort holdup won't matter...will it.

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    JEN

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • Yes, it's being built for the benefit of developers and land owners that is clear, 'a shot in the arm for the Norfolk economy' dear oh dear, what nonsense.

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    Rob_H

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • All the objections,all the Brou Ha ha,all the consultations,the Councis et their own way,and in turn the developers just waiting to carve up yet more green fields of Norfolk

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    Albert Cooper

    Friday, May 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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