Price tag for £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road could increase
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013
The price tag for the £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road could yet rise again.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin last week agreed to grant a development consent order for the 12.5-mile road, which will stretch from the A1067 Fakenham Road at Attlebridge in the west to Postwick in the east of the city.
Business leaders say that is a potential £1.3bn shot in the arm for Norfolk's economy, while council leaders said it would create new homes and jobs, as well as speeding up traffic.
However, critics said it would lead to urban sprawl and pollution, while destroying the quality of life in rural villages,
Opponents have another five weeks to lodge a legal challenge which could see the matter taken before the courts and the government will not release the £67.5m contribution (for the section from Postwick to the A140 at Norwich International Airport) until then.
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The government has already given £19m for the Postwick Hub element of the project, where work is under way on major changes to the junction to the east of the city.
But, with the estimated £148.5m cost of the whole scheme based on 2013 figures, the council acknowledged the price could yet be pushed up further.
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Talks are currently going on between County Hall officers and the main contractor - Balfour Beatty Civils - over the target costs of getting the scheme built.
The county council, which has said work on the road could start before the end of this year, will underwrite most of the cost of continuing the road from the A140 to the A1067 Fakenham Road.
They hope to support that by generating up to £40m from the Community Infrastructure Levy - a recently introduced tax on new development in the Greater Norwich area.
Meanwhile, the impact of the road on areas around Drayton and Thorpe Marriott will come under the spotlight at a public meeting next week.
Drayton Liberal Democrats have called a meeting at Thorpe Marriott Village Hall at 7.30pm on Monday.
Lib Dem spokesman Paul Burall said: 'We are particularly concerned that the Secretary of State's decision letter, while recognising the need for traffic calming south of the A1067, completely ignores the issues affecting the area between the Fakenham Road and the NDR.
'We want to hear what ideas local people have for preventing rat-running through Thorpe Marriott and other parts of Drayton and how the increase in east-west traffic through the village should be managed.
'There are also other issues ranging from the long-term pressure on development that the new road will bring to the effect of the NDR on the Drewray wildlife area.'
• What do you think of the NDR? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.