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  1. ITV Report

Could a link road between the A47 and NDR in Norfolk be possible?

How work on the NDR looked in June 2016. Credit: Mike Page.

Hopes of closing the gap between two major roads in Norfolk have been revived.

At the moment the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR), which is due to open in 2018, will stop 12 miles short of the A47 to the west of the city because of environmental concerns.

The NDR starts at Postwick to the east of the city, where a new junction has already been built. Credit: Mike Page.

But a report commissioned by the county council says a "western link road" may be possible if a suitable crossing over the River Wensum can be built.

The absence of a link road - meaning the NDR will end at the A1067 Fakenham Road - has been frequently criticised and villagers living in between the two roads fear their communities will be used as rat runs.

A group of councillors has been holding meetings since the beginning of the year to discuss the problem.

On Friday, members of the authority's transport committee will be asked to approve funding for further work on the proposal.

They will be told work by consultants Mouchel has found a solution "is likely to be possible" and, while the environmental concerns are significant, they are not deemed to be "show stoppers".

A report by Mouchel said:

"There are good reasons for believing that a [link road] would help address traffic problems identified by local people and stakeholders, and improve connectivity for all modes.

"There would be very significant environmental challenges in finding an acceptable engineering solution, but this does not appear to be a complete 'show stopper', based on recent consultation."

– Mouchel, consultants.

Discussions have been held with the Environment Agency and Natural England. Neither has ruled out the possibility of an acceptable scheme being found.

The report suggests waiting until the NDR is complete before pressing ahead with a full business case so a proper assessment of the need for the link can be made.

It says the road could potentially cost between £28m and £106m depending on the route chosen and whether it was single or dual carriageway.

Watch Mike Page's footage of progress on the NDR so far.