New road to nowhere

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So, the Government has finally given permission for the infamous Norwich Northern Distributor Road to go ahead, keeping the focus for road improvements in Norfolk firmly on the eastern side of the county.

What a shame that the £148.5 million that this so-called Road To Nowhere will cost could not be far better spent on upgrading the A47 in the west of Norfolk and providing a genuine gateway to the county for industry from the north and the midlands of England.

An upgrade of the A47 from Tilney to Lynn, and then from Lynn through to Swaffham, would have been a far wiser use of this money. At a stroke it would have provided a dual carriageway from Wisbech right through, past Swaffham into the very heart of Norfolk, a very long, welcoming carpet for anyone planning to do business with Norfolk companies.

Instead the money will be wasted on a ridiculous project that will provide a dual carriageway from the Fakenham road on the north-west side of Norwich, through to the A47 at Postwick on the eastern side of the city.

Had it been proposed to build a road from the industry and airport in the north of Norwich, to link up with the A47 on the west side of the city, it would have made some kind of economic sense, but a new road leading east from this point is surely madness.

The only place to the east of Norwich is the ailing port of Great Yarmouth, and if the worthy burghers of Norwich see their future in this direction, then they are exceedingly short-sighted.

Even if the plan is to utilise the newly-dualled All which heads away from the city in a south-westerly direction, it seems they have chosen the longest way round from the north of the city to get there.

Then there is the thorny question of finance.

After the Government’s share of the cash arrives, there is still the considerable matter of another £60 million being needed from the county council and other backers of the scheme.

Considering the council reckons it needs to make £169 million in cuts to existing services, just where is the money likely to come from?

The last piece of dual carriageway infrastructure to be built at Lynn was the stretch of the A47 from the river bridge to the Hardwick roundabout – way, way back in 1970, more than 40 years ago.

In fact it is the ONLY piece of proper dual carriageway in Lynn (the widened part of Hardwick Road next to Tesco’s is hardly long enough to merit the description ‘road’ and, given all the problems it has created, the less said about it, the better).

No doubt there will be those who accuse me of ‘road rant rage,’ but we need to keep up the pressure for improvements – we certainly cannot rely on the county council.