Spanish firm behind Heathrow terminal awarded Western Link contract

Norwich City Council have backed plans for the NDR Western Link, despite protests. Picture: ANTONY K

Norfolk County Council has awarded the contract to design and build the Norwich Western Link to Ferrovial Construction.  - Credit: Archant

A Spanish construction company that was behind the build of one of Heathrow’s airport terminals has been awarded the contract for the controversial £198m Western Link Road. 

Norfolk County Council has awarded the contract to design and build the Norwich Western Link to Ferrovial Construction. 

The construction and engineering company has been behind projects such as the T2 Terminal at Heathrow and Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Proposals for the road, which will connect the NDR with the A47 west of Norwich, have been controversial, with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Norfolk Rivers Trust and the Norfolk branch of the Captain to Protect Rural England among those raising fears over its impact on wildlife.

The route of the proposed Norwich Western Link road

The route of the Western Link. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Springwatch presenter Chris Packham also spoke out against the project.

But NCC said there is "strong support" from the public, businesses and emergency services including from Norwich International Airport, Chantry Place and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

Council leaders said the scheme will boost Norfolk's economy and cut rat-running in places such as Costessey and Weston Longville.

The council said Ferrovial Construction will start work immediately alongside their project team to develop the design.

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Martin Wilby, NCC's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said: “Creating the Norwich Western Link is a priority for this council and it’s vital to ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place to not only tackle existing congestion and delays but to accommodate future population and job growth."

Karl Goose, Ferrovial Construction UK managing director, said they will be bringing their expertise to provide the region with a "world-class piece of infrastructure."

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Cabinet members also agreed to approve the outline business case for the Norwich Western Link earlier this month, which has now been submitted to the Department for Transport.

If the outline business case is approved, this would provide a funding commitment from government which is expected to cover 85pc of the £198 million total project costs.

But David Pett, lawyer for the Stop the Wensum Link campaign, said: “Ferrovial have many planning bridges to cross before they can lay the first tarmac.  The Wensum viaduct and this scheme may be a planning hurdle too far.  We will be watching closely to ensure that wildlife law will not be broken."

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