Watch blunder at sign unveiling ceremony for Norwich Northern Distributor Road
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Let's hope the construction work goes more smoothly than this.
People involved in the project to build a 12.5-mile dual carriageway from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 north-west of the city gathered to unveil a sign today.
Or at least attempted to, as the troublesome piece of material covering it got stuck at the photocall, eventually revealing the sign after a short struggle.
The milestone unveiling of the large sign, which is in a cartoon style and features a Lotus car, marks work on the £178m Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) stepping up.
George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, did the honours, and was joined by Phil Clifton, director of major highways for Balfour Beatty, which is completing the work.
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The NDR is currently the country's biggest local authority-promoted road building project.
It has been brought through its development and approval stages by Norfolk County Council with the backing of the Greater Norwich Growth Board district authorities – Norwich City, Broadland and South Norfolk – and New Anglia LEP.
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Mr Nobbs said it was crucial to economic development in and around Norwich.
The road is scheduled for completion in early 2018, but Balfour Beatty and Norfolk County Council are aiming to have it open to traffic by Christmas next year.
Works will include 12 new roundabouts, eight new bridges and a complex two level junction at the A140 Cromer Road.
There will be a workforce of 500 when construction peaks.
While supporters of the project say it will enable future growth in jobs and housing with benefits to local communities, businesses and the travelling public as well as supporting regional economic growth, there has been criticism from environmental groups.
Brett Walker, chairman of the Wensum Valley Alliance, said: 'It is shocking that Norfolk County Council continue to operate from inside a bubble suspended from reality.
'Against a backdrop of massive public objection to the road, partly on cost and also to an awareness that road building is an archaic and anachronistic way of dealing with 21st century transport issues, Norfolk CC continue regardless.'
He raised concerns over air pollition, as well as the removal of trees - though contractors have said more will be planted - and that people should look to public transport rather than building more roads.