Regional backing secured for Norfolk road projects
31 July 2019
Four Norfolk road projects designed to provide traffic relief and improve travel around the county will be put forward for national funding consideration after being made regional priorities.
Transport East, the sub-national transport body that covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Southend-on-Sea, was asked by the Department for Transport to agree their regional priorities for significant road projects that could be constructed between 2020 and 2025. As a result, Norfolk County Council has won regional support for its projects to build the Norwich Western Link, Long Stratton Bypass, West Winch Housing Access Road and a complete redesign of the Pullover junction.
Cllr Martin Wilby, Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport at Norfolk County Council and Vice-Chairman of Transport East, said: “This regional backing opens the door to bringing national investment into Norfolk for these much-needed road projects, so it’s a vital step along the way to making them a reality.
“As well as tackling traffic congestion and improving the quality of life of many residents, our businesses need good transport networks to help them grow and create jobs. These key schemes will reduce journey times, improve journey reliability and make it easier to get around our county. And across the UK, all areas are being expected to create new homes, so it’s crucial we have the infrastructure in place to cope with this population growth.”
The Norwich Western Link is a new 3.9 mile dual carriageway road connecting the western end of Broadland Northway (formerly the NDR) to the A47 trunk road. Together with the dualling of the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton, due to get underway in early 2022, it would create a fully dual carriageway orbital route around Norwich.
The new road would reduce traffic and rat-running on minor roads and in communities to the west of the city and improve access to growth and employment sites at Norwich Airport, Norwich Research Park and the Food Enterprise Zone at Easton. It would also reduce emergency response times, including to the nearby Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The total cost of delivering the Norwich Western Link, including inflation, is estimated at £153 million. The County Council is aiming to start construction in late 2022 and open the road to traffic in early 2025.
Long Stratton Bypass is a new 2.5 mile single carriageway route to the east of Long Stratton in south Norfolk and would form part of the A140 that links Norwich and Ipswich. The bypass would relieve traffic congestion in and around Long Stratton and help to create 625 new jobs and 1,800 new homes. The bypass is estimated to cost £29 million, with the majority of this being sought from the Department for Transport and a significant contribution is due to be made by a developer.
Construction on the bypass is due to start in the first half of 2022, with the road open to traffic in 2024. These dates are later than previously stated and the County Council will continue to work to start construction earlier, but this will be dependent on a number of factors including when a decision on the bypass funding is announced and the time taken to secure planning permission and other consents and approvals.
The West Winch Housing Access Road is a new single carriageway road in west Norfolk that would form part of the A10 immediately to the south of King’s Lynn. It would be built to the east of West Winch and link to the A47 via a new roundabout. As part of the project, the section of the A47 between this new roundabout and the existing A10/A47 Hardwick junction would be made into dual carriageway.
The new road is needed to reduce traffic congestion, enable 4,000 new homes that are due to be created in West Winch and improve journey times between King’s Lynn and Cambridge by bypassing the village. Norfolk County Council is aiming to start construction in 2022, with the road opening in 2024. Cost estimates for the project are currently being developed.
The Pullover junction improvement is a proposal to improve the A47/A17 junction to the west of King’s Lynn. The proposals would see the junction grade separated with a bridge or flyover and slip roads built to reduce congestion and delay, and improve safety, at this junction that is a gateway to the Midlands. The dualling of the A47 with grade separated junctions is a key priority of the A47 Alliance, the regional lobbying group of which Norfolk County Council is a member, and improving the Pullover junction will help further this ambition. The scheme is at an early stage and there is more work to be done to develop options but the County Council is aiming to start construction in the 2024/25 financial year.
Following the decision by Transport East, business cases for the four Norfolk projects were submitted to the Department for Transport yesterday (Tuesday, 30 July). As a result, the projects can be considered for funding from the national Major Road Network and Large Local Major pots of money, which specifically fund road improvement schemes. It is hoped that the first projects to be awarded funding could be announced later this year.
For more information about Transport East, visit www.transporteast.org.uk.