Work on £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road set to start in October
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Work on the controversial £148.5m Norwich Northern Distributor Road is set to start in just two months, after a key milestone was passed.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin agreed in June 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 on the A47 in the east.
But there was a six-week period during which a legal challenge could have been mounted against that decision.
If a challenge had been forthcoming, that would have delayed the start date for work. However, Norfolk County Council today confirmed there had been no such challenge.
That means initial work is scheduled to begin in the middle of October, with full blown construction starting early next year.
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A Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said: 'The courts have confirmed that there have been no legal challenges made, which is positive news. It means the next step is now to secure full funding from the Department for Transport and final approvals from councillors in September.
'We anticipate that initial work will start on site around mid-October. This will be in the form of utility diversions and some advance environmental and archaeology works.
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'The main road and bridge construction work would start on site in February/March next year with all construction expected to be completed in December 2017.'
The government has agreed to contribute £86.5m towards the scheme, but Norfolk County Council and developer contributions will be needed to cover the final £60m.
Business leaders and council bosses hailed the road as a £1.3bn shot in the arm for Norfolk's economy, creating new homes and jobs while speeding up traffic.
However, critics said it will lead to urban sprawl and pollution, destroying quality of life in rural villages.
Denise Carlo, from campaign group Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group, said her organisation and the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England had hoped to launch a challenge, but that a barrister concluded he could not identify any grounds for one.
Work is still continuing on the Postwick Hub to the east of Norwich, which will serve as the gateway to the Northern Distributor Road.
What's your view of the road? Write, giving full contact details, to the Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.