A project that would help complete a dual carriageway orbital route around Norwich and relieve traffic congestion on local roads has been approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) to continue through the next stages of its development.
The Norwich Western Link is a new 3.8 mile dual carriageway road that would connect the western end of Broadland Northway (formerly the NDR) to the A47.
Norfolk County Council submitted a strategic outline business case for the project last year, which set out why a Norwich Western Link is needed.
This business case has now been approved by central government, meaning the Norwich Western Link has been given conditional entry into DfT’s Large Local Majors project funding programme. As well as providing more than £1m of development funding for the project in the 2020/21 financial year, the announcement gives the council the green light to proceed to the next stage of the national process.
This will see a further, more detailed, business case submitted for consideration which, if approved, would unlock up to 85pc of the total estimated £153m cost of the project.
Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: “This announcement and funding commitment is really positive news from the Department for Transport. Investing in infrastructure improvements will be a vital part of supporting Norfolk’s economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with the provision of good transport links critical to many of our major industries such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing and engineering. So this news is particularly welcome right now.”
The county council is also currently finalising proposals to secure a multimillion-pound package of funding from DfT’s Transforming Cities Fund for Norwich. As a result, work would get under way later this year on a programme of works to support access to areas of employment and education via a range of transport options. Work is also under way to ensure Norfolk can make effective use of its yet-to-be-confirmed share of the £2bn of funding announced by central government last weekend to install short-term measures to help people to travel on foot or by bike while social distancing restrictions remain in place.
Subject to securing funding and completing necessary statutory processes, the Norwich Western Link is scheduled to open to traffic in 2025. Together with the Highways England A47 dualling between North Tuddenham and Easton, due to get underway in early 2022, this would create a fully dual carriageway orbital route around Norwich.