Preliminary work starts on Norwich Northern Distributor Road

Preliminary work on site has started on Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR), Norfolk County Council announced today (Tuesday 8 December). The start, on land already controlled by the Council, comes less than two weeks after Full Approval and the release of national funding was announced in the Chancellor s Autumn Statement (25 November). Since then, Norfolk County Council has moved quickly to instruct Balfour Beatty, the main contractor for the project, and to serve notice on landowners of its intention to take possession of land needed for the road.

The preliminary work, including clearance of vegetation, archaeology, utility service diversions and some drainage lagoon excavations, will be stepped up in January along the whole footprint of the scheme. This will prepare the route before construction of the new road starts around the end of March, with completion of the main works early in 2018. Today s start on site announcement took place near Rackheath, where ground works are being carried out for a bat roost barn one of the many wildlife and environmental protection measures built into the project.

The Leaders of Norfolk County Council, Cllr George Nobbs, and Broadland District Council, Cllr Andrew Proctor, were joined by Chris Starkie, Managing Director of New Anglia LEP, and Stephen Tarr, Managing Director, Major Projects, Balfour Beatty, to mark the transition from the lengthy planning, project development and approval process to actual work on site. Once complete, the 20km dual carriageway, running from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham road, will take thousands of vehicles a day off congested and unsuitable roads in and around Norwich. As well as easier journeys and relief for local communities, the NDR will: Pave the way for a range of further Transport for Norwich improvements in and around Norwich.

Improve accessibility and journey times in Broadland and to and from North Norfolk. Provide a high quality link to Norwich International Airport from the A47 trunk road. Improve access to existing and planned business and housing areas.

Give a 1billion boost to the local economy. This preliminary work, including clearance of vegetation, archaeology, utility diversion and some drainage lagoon excavations, will be stepped up in January along the whole footprint of the scheme. This will prepare the route for construction of the new road, which will start around the end of March 2016 and is expected to take less than two years to complete.

A brief history of Norwich Northern Distributor Road It has taken many years for proposals for a Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) to reach the point where work has started on site. The idea was floated in the 1990s after the opening of the A47 Southern Bypass, but the lack of funding opportunities led to it being shelved. The current scheme emerged from a 2002/3 update of the Norwich Area Transport Strategy (NATS).

Initial stages 2003 NDR gains 78% support as key element of NATS.

2004/5 Route option consultation in 2005 September Council drops western section on environmental grounds and adopts current route. Timetable envisages construction starting 2010, road open 2012. Scheme development and setbacks 2008 Major Scheme Business Case approved by Cabinet.

2009 E of E Regional Assembly supports NDR, Department for Transport (DfT) grants programme entry NDR and allocates 21m from Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) for Postwick Hub. Start of works put back from 2010 to 2012.

2010 February DfT allocates 67.5m for NDR to A140 (in addition to Postwick CIF allocation). County Council agrees to underwrite cost of continuing to A1067.

General Election New Coalition Govt withdraws NDR and Postwick allocations. NDR goes into Development Pool process with DfT to re-establish funding.

2011 December DfT announces combined allocation of 86.5m for NDR to A140 ( 67.5m) and Postwick ( 19m).

2013 Total estimated cost of NDR (including Postwick) put at 148.55m. Postwick Hub public inquiry held and completed in July.

Final approvals phase 2014 Final approvals (road orders) granted for Postwick in January. Work starts in May. NDR enters NSIP development consent procedure.

Examination begins 2 June 2014, ends 2 December.

2015 2 June: Development Consent granted by Secretary of State for Transport. Costs rise to 178.95m. DfT, New Anglia LEP and Norfolk County Council agree to cover increase.

25 November: Full Approval and release of national funding announced in Autumn Statement.

8 December: Norfolk County Council announces start on site of preliminary works.

Main Postwick Hub junction works due for completion before the Christmas holidays.