Road changes mooted as new details about NDR Western Link revealed
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
A string of potential changes to roads and footpaths on the route of the Western Link Road have been revealed today - as a fresh wave of consultation on the controversial road begins.
Norfolk County Council wants to build the 3.8 mile dual carriageway to link the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47 west of Norwich.Today, consultation begins on a string of changes, including the potential closure or alterations to four local roads which are along the route of the £153m road.
Travelling between Weston Longville and Ringland, it would link to the A47 at a new junction at Wood Lane near Honingham, with a 720-metre-long viaduct over the River Wensum.
But a number of roads would be bisected and the council is consulting over what should happen to them:
• With Ringland Lane there are two options - one is to keep the road, which would cross under the Western Link, open to all traffic or whether to restrict it to walkers, cyclists and horse riders only.
• Weston Road, part of which is also known as Church Hill Lane, would be completely shut to traffic, as would Breck Road, which is also known as Breck Lane.
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• The Broadway would be open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders only via a green bridge over the Western Link, also serving as a wildlife crossing.
A number of other footpaths and bridleways are also proposed alongside the route and council officers say the proposals have been worked up after discussions with parish councils, walking, cycling and horseriding groups.
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And the council also wants to hear what other sustainable transport measures people want to see.
Suggestions include potential new crossings on the A1067 at Attlebridge and near where the Western Link would start.
Other suggestions include improved cycle routes between Attlebridge and Norwich, via Ringland and Taverham, from Ringland to Easton, from Taverham to Dereham Road, from Mattishall to the UEA/Research Park and from Drayton to the park and ride site at the airport.
The consultation also moots the possibility of a new ‘Western Arc’ bus service - services connecting areas such as Thorpe Marriott, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich Research Park, the University of East Anglia to Queen’s Hills, Longwater and Bowthorpe or to the airport, Hellesdon and Earlham.
Martin Wilby, the Conservative-controlled council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The Norwich Western Link will significantly change travel to the west of Norwich and we’ve been looking at the opportunities this creates to help people get where they want to go on foot, by bike or on the bus.
“This is an important part of what we’re setting out to achieve with the project and it has the potential to have a really positive impact on health and quality of life, as well as making it easier for people to get to schools, colleges, health facilities and places of employment.
“Local parish councils, walking and cycling groups, bus companies and others have fed into our work to come up with some proposals that we think could be effective at giving people more travel options.
“We now want to see what everyone else thinks, including those who currently use these routes or would want to in the future.”
The link has been backed by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich Airport, business leaders, fire chiefs and bus bosses.
But it is opposed by the Wensum Valley Alliance, the Green Party, County Hall Labour councillors and owners of woodland which would be destroyed by the road.The eight week Local Access Consultation will run until Sunday, September 20. People can see information and respond via www.norfolk.gov.uk/nwl.
People can also request a consultation brochure and paper questionnaire are posted to them by ringing 0344 800 8020 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.orgBecause of coronavirus, there will be no consultation events, but people will be able to discuss proposals with staff by phone or internet calls by booking appointments by email or phone.
The road still needs to secure funding and a further public consultation on other elements of the project - including the viaduct and the environmental impact - is due to be held next year, ahead of an application for planning permission.
Council bosses hope work to build it can start in 2023, with the road open in 2025.