Decision due over allocating extra £19.3m to over budget Norwich Northern Distributor Road

The Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Norwich Northern Distributor Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A decision will be made tomorrow on whether to add £19.25m to the budget for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, as critics say money would be better spent on public transport.

Denise Carlo, Green Party city councillor. Pic: Archant Library.

Denise Carlo, Green Party city councillor. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Archant

The final bill for the road has increased to an estimated £205m, after contractor Balfour Beatty claimed for extra costs accrued in building the 12.5 mile road.

Norfolk County Council has been locked in talks with the contractor over the price, with issues such as delays in getting the go-ahead to take the road over the railway line at Rackheath and the cost to divert utilities, such as gas pipes, pushing up the cost.

At tomorrow's meeting, County Hall's policy and resources committee will be asked to agree to add an extra £19.3m to the NDR budget.

The budget had been £178.9m, but an extra £6.8m was added in February. At today's meeting, councillors will be asked to re-allocate £7.3m from the budget for capital projects and £12m from cash balances.

A long-term capital funding arrangement to replace that £12m will be submitted to the policy and resources committee in January.

The dual carriageway road, once complete, will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road.

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The section from the A1067 to the A140 Cromer Road has opened and council bosses still hope the section from the A140 to Wroxham Road could open before the end of the year, with the remaining part open in March next year.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the council's environmental, development and transport committee, said extra costs were 'inevitable' but the road would deliver 'huge benefits'.

The council has also made the western link - which would connect the NDR to the A47 to the west of Norwich - a priority.

But Green Party councillors in Norwich have put forward a motion, to be debated at Norwich City Council on Tuesday, for City Hall to oppose the western link and to get a commitment for bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors to be delivered.

Green councillor Denise Carlo said: 'When the NDR was approved, we were also promised a modern bus system. There is little sign of progress on BRT, apart from the first phase along Dereham Road.

'It is simply scandalous that new road schemes are being prioritised ahead of efficient bus services.'