Creating better walking and cycling routes around controversial dual-carriageway

Aerial view for Broadland Northway northern bypass around Norwich (NDR)
There are controversial plans to complete an orbital road around Norwich by building a dual-carriageway across the Wensum valley Credit: ITV News Anglia

The public are being asked what they think about traffic plans around a controversial new four-mile dual-carriageway which would complete the orbital road around Norwich.

The new road would cut through the Wensum valley and the plans have already angered environmentalists who want to protect the area.

The route joins the northern and southern bypasses around Norwich and would complete a loop around the city so traffic can avoid the centre. The road has been given government approval and a planning application will be submitted next year.

Ahead of that, Norfolk County Council is now consulting on looking how the new carriageway will impact the local road network to the west of Norwich and what can be done to encourage more walking, cycling or horse-riding and boost the use of public transport.

Protestors against the new Wensum link road in Norwich outside Norfolk County Hall in July 2019 Credit: ITV News Anglia

The council wants to give cyclists greater priority on roads that link communities to key employment, educational and leisure locations.

It is also consulting on a potential new ‘Western Arc’ bus service that could link the western suburbs of Norwich to places including Longwater Retail Park, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia without the need to travel into central Norwich to change buses.

Norfolk County Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, Martin Wilby said the project "has the potential to have a really positive impact on health and quality of life, as well as making it easier for people to get to schools, colleges, health facilities and places of employment."

Opponents of the new road have already held protests against the plans at Norfolk County Hall. They say the road would harm wildlife, destroy ancient woodland and the countryside and cost too much.

A 3.8 mile dual-carriageway is planned across the Wensum valley to link the Broadland Northway road with the A47 Norwich southern bypass Credit: Norfolk County Council

The Norwich Western Link is designed to have no junctions between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the A47. So the council is asking for views on the following proposals on route that pass would cross the new dual-carriageway.

  • Ringland Lane – two options: to keep the road open to all through traffic; or for it to be restricted to walkers, cyclists and horse riders only. Both options would see Ringland Lane cross under the Norwich Western Link.

  • Weston Road (a section of which is also known as Church Hill Lane) – to be entirely closed to through traffic.

  • Breck Road (also known as Breck Lane) – to be entirely closed to through traffic.

  • The Broadway – kept open as a through route to walkers, cyclists and horse riders only via a green bridge over the Norwich Western Link, which would also serve as a wildlife crossing.

Norfolk County Council artist's impression of new crossings over the proposed dual-carriageway through the Wensum valley west of Norwich. Credit: Norfolk County Council

The public consultation will run until 20 September but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, no local consultation events will be held.

People are being to discuss the consultation proposals with staff involved in the project via phone or internet calls during the consultation period. 

Norfolk County Council is hoping to complete the road - which is estimated to cost £153m in total - by 2025.