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Your questions answered

About the Norwich Western Link

Do we need the Norwich Western Link?

We are delivering the Norwich Western Link (NWL) as part of the Transport for Norwich (TfN) strategy. The NWL and TfN strategy will bring significant transport improvements. They'll provide a transport network that meets future demands and reduce anticipated traffic congestion due to planned housing and job growth. We believe improving Norfolk's infrastructure will help make journeys quicker and safer. It'll also allow us to provide sustainable transport options.

In summer 2018, we held an initial NWL consultation. This consultation identified transport problems that existed in the area west of Norwich. It asked the public what they thought we could do to tackle these problems.

The consultation had more than 1,700 responses. The results showed strong support for a new link between the A47 and Broadland Northway. Most respondents suggested a new road as their preferred solution.

The consultation also highlighted the following transport issues:

  • Slow journey times
  • Rat running (when drivers use roads as short cuts that are not intended for this. For example, residential roads that aren't intended for lots of traffic.)
  • Roads not being suitable for the volume and type of traffic such as HGVs


How much traffic do you expect will use the Norwich Western Link?

We're currently updating our traffic modelling assessments and will update this section once we have the most up-to-date figures. However, we would expect a significant amount of the through traffic that would otherwise use smaller and rural roads to the west of Norwich to transfer to the Norwich Western Link once it opens.

Why can't you start construction sooner?

There are a number of reasons, including the need to gain statutory approvals and secure funding before we begin construction. Large-scale infrastructure projects are complex, with many considerations and lots of evidence and information to be taken into account. We'll continue to take a thorough approach to this and work hard to get this project delivered as soon as possible.

How much would a Norwich Western Link cost?

The total cost of delivering the Norwich Western Link, including inflation, is estimated at £273.9m.

How will the Norwich Western Link be funded?

We received approval for our Outline Business Case from the Department for Transport in October, which gives us a commitment to fund £213m towards the total cost of the project, with the potential for the government contribution to be uplifted to cover even more of the costs. The remaining costs would be funded by a local contribution.


How are you working with National Highways and taking account of their plans for the A47?

National Highways (formerly Highways England) made their preferred route announcement for the dualling of the North Tuddenham to Easton stretch of the A47, west of Norwich, on 4 August 2017.

We've been discussing our plans to develop an NWL with National Highways for some time. We've worked with them to make sure our link road can feed into their proposed new off-carriageway junction at Wood Lane.


How will local communities be consulted on the proposals?

We have carried out four public consultations on the Norwich Western Link between 2018 and 2022. We also carried out a local consultation on an alternative traffic mitigation proposal for the village of Attlebridge between December 2022 and January 2023.   Visit the Have your say page for more information on these consultations .

What's the planning process for the Norwich Western Link?

The planning application is due to be made through the Town and Country Planning process, for which Norfolk County Council would be the Local Planning Authority. The planning application for the project will therefore be both made and decided by the county council. More information on how this will be handled can be found in the LPA Handling Arrangements (PDF) [190KB].


About the route

What is the route?

The preferred route is a new 3.9 mile dual carriageway road. It links from the roundabout at the western end of Broadland Northway and extends for a short section of the A1067 Fakenham Road before turning in a south-westerly direction via a new junction.

The road crosses the River Wensum on a viaduct and then continues at or near ground level for the remainder of its length. It links to the A47 via a new junction at Wood Lane, which forms part of National Highways' plan to dual the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton.


What type of junctions will be created with the A1067 and A47?

The junction with the A47 will be largely determined by National Highways who are responsible for this road and other trunk roads. We have been in discussion with National Highways for some time about our plans to develop a Norwich Western Link and we have worked with them to ensure our link road can feed into their proposed new off-carriageway junction at Wood Lane.

In early 2020, Highways England consulted on their proposals to make the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton a dual carriageway and create two new junctions. In December 2020, they published a project update that included updates to their proposed design for the project - this can be found on the National Highways' website.

As for the junction with the A1067, we are proposing to create a roundabout to connect this road with the Norwich Western Link.


Will the Norwich Western Link intersect with existing roads it crosses or go over/under them?

We asked for people's views on proposals for the local roads crossed by the route of the Norwich Western Link (NWL) in a public consultation in 2020.

We considered the feedback we received and, based on this, our proposals for these roads are:

  • We will keep Ringland Lane open to all traffic via an underpass of the NWL. However, we will close it at times during construction.
  • Weston Road/Church Hill Lane and Breck Road/Breck Lane will be severed at the point they cross NWL.
  • The Broadway will remain open as a through route to farm traffic, walkers, cyclists, and horse riders only. Access will be via a green bridge over the NWL. The bridge would also serve as a wildlife crossing.


The landscape, environment and other transport options

How are you accounting for possible changes in the way people will travel in the future?

Our traffic modelling forecasts are based on the latest published data from the Department for Transport, looking forward to 2040 and beyond.  By this time there may be technological advances such as a shift to electric cars and self-driving cars, and more people working from home.  However, the timescale for these advances and the extent to which they will change travel behaviour is not yet fully understood so cannot be fully predicted at this stage.


What impact will the Norwich Western Link have on the natural environment and what will you do to mitigate this impact?

As part of providing a Norwich Western Link, we are committed to minimising any impact on the environment. We are aiming to achieve 'biodiversity net gain' for all applicable habitats, as set out by Defra, which will see new areas of habitat created, including woodland and wetland, as well as improvements to existing ones.

We have been liaising with Natural England and the Environment Agency about the possibility of creating a Norwich Western Link for some time and what potential environmental mitigation would be needed. We will also seek opportunities to enhance the local environment, so that we can make a positive impact where possible.


How can you build a viaduct over the River Wensum given it has been given special designated status?

There are numerous environmental and ecological considerations in the NWL study area, with designated sites including the River Wensum as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),  'Ancient Woodland' and several 'County Wildlife Sites'.  Where possible the shortlisted options have avoided these sites, or our work has indicated that any impacts can be mitigated.

Following discussions with Natural England and the Environment Agency, agreement was reached that a bridge crossing of the River Wensum could be acceptable, but this would be subject to more detailed design and mitigation proposals.

We will comply with the Habitats Directive Regulations to demonstrate that any proposed solution crossing the Wensum would not adversely affect the integrity of the River Wensum SAC.


How high will the viaduct be built? Will it be visible from miles around?

The viaduct will have to be built high enough to ensure it clears the floodplains and to minimise the impact on the environment. 

Because the bridge will be built in low-lying ground, we don't expect it to dominate the wider landscape.  We would look to merge the bridge with its surroundings through planting and landscaping.


Why isn't a lower bridge being considered?'

Higher bridge crossings are more likely to protect the state of the rivers and their ecology.  This is the case both during the construction phase, as supports would be built further from the river bed, and an ongoing basis due to them creating significantly less shade on the river and causing less disruption to wildlife than a lower bridge.


Are you going to do anything specifically to support other forms of transport such as public transport, cycling and walking?

One of the Norwich Western Link's project objectives is to encourage and support people to walk, cycle and use public transport. Taking traffic off the existing road network will help with this, but we're also working to develop complementary transport measures that will support this ambition. For further details on the proposals to support walking, cycling and public transport use as part of the Norwich Western Link project, visit About the Norwich Western Link.

Introducing traffic measures designed to limit the amount, speed and type of vehicles using the existing road network in the area will also be considered as part of the project.

The Norwich Western Link is being developed alongside other transport improvements, including the Transport for Norwich project which focuses on encouraging increased levels of public transport usage and supporting people to walk and cycle where journey distances are appropriate. Visit the Transport for Norwich page for more information.


How will the Norwich Western Link affect me?

What impact will the Norwich Western Link have on traffic in the area to the west of Norwich?

The Norwich Western Link would reduce the need for traffic to enter the city, alleviate local transport issues to the west of Norwich, cut journey times for residents, businesses, emergency services, and visitors, and create many benefits for local communities. As part of the project, we intend to provide complementary measures to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use as well as support and protect the environment in the local area.

Traffic modelling shows that the Norwich Western Link will significantly reduce traffic on many local roads. However, in a few locations, increases are predicted as traffic seeks to get to and from the new road.

Some roads are more able to accommodate extra traffic, such as the A1270 (Broadland Northway), A1067 and A47. We are not proposing to introduce any measures on these roads. On B Roads and minor rural roads through local communities where an increase in average annual daily traffic of more than 1000 vehicles per day is predicted, we are proposing to bring in measures to mitigate this impact.


What will happen to the roads that currently connect to the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton?

National Highways included proposals for these roads in their Development Consent Order application, details of which can be found on the Planning Inspectorate's website. View the Development Consent Order details. A decision on the Development Consent Order is expected later this summer.


What about landowners who might be affected by the preferred route?

From the point where we had a shortlist of options in November 2018 we have written to landowners who could be directly affected by any of the potential routes a number of times to make them aware of the process ahead, and we've had further contact with several of these landowners to answer questions and try to address their concerns.

We wrote to anyone whose property will be directly affected when the preferred route was agreed in July 2019 to make them aware of the decision, and to offer to meet with them to explain the implications of the decision for them and their property.