Norwich Western Link scheme to be discussed
12 October 2017
A report to a committee of councillors provides details of work completed to date that has considered a possible option of building a new stretch of road between the Norwich Northern Distributor Road and the A47 west of the city. The findings indicate that a scheme would help to reduce queueing traffic and delays, support possible future housing and economic growth and could provide high value for money.
Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee will receive a report on the Norwich Western Link, one of the County Council’s priority infrastructure projects, at a meeting on Friday, 20 October. As well as providing an update on progress made to date, the report sets out next steps for the project which could see public consultation conducted next year and a preferred option to resolve transport issues in the west of the city announced by March 2019.
Martin Wilby, Chairman of Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: “This is an important project for Norfolk with a number of significant benefits. Following the completion of the Northern Distributor Road, the Norwich Western Link will further help to improve journeys into and around the west of the city, support potential housing and jobs growth and provide the infrastructure to manage the additional traffic this will create, and improve quality of life for people living in the area.
“I’m very conscious of the potential environmental impact of this project, and we have objectives that the Norwich Western Link should improve the quality of life for local communities and also protect and enhance the natural environment. With this in mind, and with the evidence so far supporting the case for the project, I hope we can continue with the excellent progress we’ve made to date.”
Since reporting to committee in 2016 the council has been carrying out work to assess the need for the Norwich Western Link. This has included initial traffic modelling, which indicates the road network to the west of Norwich is likely to experience significant increases in queuing and delays unless the western link is constructed, particularly in future years with additional housing and employment growth.
The council has sought feedback from communities to the west of Norwich on the prospect of constructing a Norwich Western Link. This suggests there are concerns about existing traffic problems and the impact the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) will have on their local roads once it opens. A Western Link is therefore seen as an important intervention to remove these concerns. However, the report states “the impact of the NDR will need to be based on actual monitored data, which will not be available until after a period of traffic redistribution following the opening of the new road” expected March 2018.
The council has also discussed the project with Natural England and the Environment Agency, who have given advice and comments on the proposals and were supportive of the progress that has been made since 2016.
The report concludes that the work carried out provides “sufficient confidence that there is a case to continue with the delivery of the project”.
Members of the committee will be asked to agree to continue with the project at the meeting next week, and approve how this work should be funded.
The Environment, Development and Transport Committee will meet at 10am on Friday, 20 October at County Hall in Norwich. Members of the public are welcome to attend.