Reader letter: NDR designed to be a racetrack
PUBLISHED: 13:13 15 January 2019
Archant Norfolk 2018
A recent letter, on the subject of roundabout problems on the "Northern Broadway", added that a lot of drivers using it need to be reminded that "it isn't a racetrack".
This raises the question: “Why was it built like a racetrack?” And then the further question: “Is the proposed Western Link section going to be more of the same?”
The basic point of the Northern Distributor Route — as the name suggested — was to facilitate essentially local traffic movement to and from outlying areas to the North, and across the Northern half of Norwich. It isn’t a major road itself. It isn’t about long-distance through traffic. It isn’t the Newmarket bypass.
But it’s been built like it! A much narrower, slower, ordinary road, following the contours of the landscape, not gouged through it like the M1, would have done the job, with nothing like these levels of environmental damage and ongoing noise and visual pollution.
Now the final link, to the A47, is going to be put in. An ordinary 30 or 40mph road, wide enough just to keep traffic moving, could follow the high ground behind Taverham, cross the Wensum with an ordinary bridge somewhere below Ringland, and follow, parallel, or even double-up with, existing (currently rat-run) roads with remarkably little additional damage to countryside or noise and nuisance to residents.
It certainly wouldn’t require a 600 metre viaduct, within half a mile of undeveloped high ground! It wouldn’t, I think, cost the upwards of £150m estimated for the currently short-listed B, C, and D routes.
Yet the timings for these routes, given in the consultation documents, assume an average speed of 70mph! Everywhere else there is strong, growing and often punitive downward pressure on driving speeds. Are we really going to build another brutal, multi-million pound racetrack, this time across this rather precious, and still unspoilt area of the Wensum Valley?