New road closure needed due to rethink over drainage for Norwich Northern Distributor Road

The Northern Distributor Road route passes next to the Rackheath Spring - on the right in this pictu

The Northern Distributor Road route passes next to the Rackheath Spring - on the right in this picture. Pic: Mike Page. - Credit: Mike Page

Fears that a fishing lake could be put at risk because of work on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road has forced engineers to change tack - and that will mean a nine day closure of a main road.

The route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road.

The route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road. - Credit: Archant

As part of the work to ensure the 12.5 mile road is properly drained, Norfolk County Council contractors had planned to drill down to create a new culvert on the stretch of the road near to Rackheath.

However, the pits would have to be so deep that they would go below the water table - and pumping away water to enable that to happen could take water away from the nearby private fishing lake at Rackheath Springs.

So, instead, a trench will need to be dug - and that will mean the A1151 Wroxham Road will need to be closed for nine days later in the year.

John Birchall, community liaison officer for the NDR said: 'We are having to close Wroxham Road in October because of difficulties in boring under the road to create a new culvert.

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'We had planned to thrust-bore under the road, to avoid a closure during the culvert work, but the pits will have to be so deep that they will be below the water table.

'We are worried that reducing ground water levels would also affect the nearby fishing lakes, which would not be environmentally acceptable.

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'Our only option is to cut a deep trench through the road, and we will need to close the road for nine days in October – two weekends and the five days between.'

The exact dates have not been set, but there is rather more positive news for drivers.

Wroxham Road was supposed to shut overnight for two weeks in September to tie it in to the NDR and to surface the roundabout.

That night-time closure will now not be needed, as it will be done at the same time as the nine-day closure.

A major milestone on the £178.5m NDR was passed this month when the first Tarmac was put down on the main drag of the dual carriageway.

Once complete, the road will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the east of Norwich to the A1067 Fakenham Road to the west.

Supporters of the road say it will bring an economic boost, speed up journey times and allow improvements to other roads.

But critics say it will lead to more traffic, cause rat-running and is coming at the expense of the destruction of swathes of countryside.

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