Further five miles of Norwich Northern Distributor Road now open

The newly opened stretch of the NDR, between Wroxham Road and Cromer Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The newly opened stretch of the NDR, between Wroxham Road and Cromer Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A further five miles of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road has today opened to traffic.

The stretch of the road between the A140 Cromer Road and the A1151 Wroxham Road opened this morning - to the relief of bosses who had feared wintry weather earlier in the month was in danger of setting back the project.

But better weather in the last week meant the goal of getting that section open in time for Christmas has been achieved. The section between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the A140 Cromer Road opened last month.Stuart Clancy, vice chairman of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'Having two-thirds of Norwich NDR open by Christmas – two months ahead of schedule - is a tremendous achievement. That's eight and a half miles of dual carriageway helping people get around, easing pressure on other routes and supporting businesses.

'Many people are now itching for the rest of the route to be open to the A47 at Postwick, that's when the NDR will really come into its own as essential infrastructure for Norwich, Broadland and much of North Norfolk.'

Ian Taylor, project manager for Norfolk County Council, said: 'I am extremely pleased, not to say relieved. The weather turned against us and for a while it seemed unlikely that we would make up the lost time.

'Since then, the team has pulled out all the stops, and it is a great credit to Balfour Beatty and our own staff.

'Achieving this Christmas milestone is not just symbolic. At some key locations, such as the A140 Cromer Road, instead of several more weeks of disruption road users will be feeling more of the benefits of the new road

'The whole NDR team is buoyed up by this achievement, which reflects a huge amount of work in some very testing conditions. When we come back in the New Year we will be able to focus all our efforts on completing the route through to Postwick.'

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he new stretch of NDR, which has the number A1270, includes:

•Access under the A140, with two more slip roads completing connection of the two 'A' roads

•A roundabout where the dual carriageway turns around the northern corner of Norwich Airport. This provides access to the Petans Safety Training centre and other premises, but there is no other road connection

•The Woodlands Bridge, carrying Buxton Road, Spixworth, over the dual carriageway. The bridge includes a segregated pedestrian and cycle track shielded from headlights on the road below to create a 'dark corridor' to help bats cross safely at night

•The North Walsham Road Roundabout, connecting the NDR with the B1150

•The Wroxham Road Roundabout, connecting the NDR with the A1151 to Wroxham, Hoveton and the Broads

The last stretch of the road - The remaining 3.3 miles - to Postwick is scheduled for completion in March next year.

The final bill for the 12.5 mile dual carriageway road, which has always been controversial, is likely to be at least £205m. Councillors had to add millions extra to the amount they had budgeted for.While supporters of the road say it will bring economic benefits and cut rat-running, critics say it will encourage more car use and will lead to homes and businesses being built on countryside.