The Broadland Northway

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Text © Copyright Evelyn Simak, July 2016
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.


Section 3 – Holt Road (B1149) to Bullock Hill

From the Holt/Cromer road junction, the NDR continues its south-easterly course, cutting through the south-western corner of Norwich International Airport and passing the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, which lost some of its land to the new road. About halfway along the airport's perimeter, which it closely follows, the road swings north-east to Bullock Hill, passing one of the airport's emergency exit gates, which became redundant, and the communications mast on top of Bullock Hill. The minor road leading up to one of Norwich International Airport's emergency exit gates at Bullock Hill was closed. A new roundabout, called the Airport Roundabout, was constructed at the northern-most point of the airport's perimeter, a short distance further to the north-east, creating a new access route and presumably also a new emergency exit for the airport. This road is called Imperial Lane.

The new Cromer Road overbridge, which takes the A140 road over the NDR, was opened to traffic in June 2017, with the main carriageway completed in January 2018. Two new roundabouts, the Cromer Road roundabouts North and South, will also be constructed, one to the north and the other south of the overbridge.

TG2014 : Construction site beside Cromer Road (A140) by Evelyn Simak TG2014 : The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) east of the A140 (Cromer Road) by Evelyn Simak TG2014 : Approaching the roundabout by Harts Hill Farm by Evelyn Simak TG2014 : The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2014 : Road construction east of Cromer Road by Evelyn Simak

TG2214 : View down Bullock Hill by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : A road under construction by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : Excavation on Bullock Hill by Evelyn Simak

TG2214 : The new Airport Roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : The new Airport Roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : The new Airport Roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : Cycle lane crossing the NDR by Evelyn Simak TG2214 : The NDR south-west of the Airport Roundabout by Evelyn Simak

Due to this section of the NDR closely following the whole length of the northern and north-western perimeter of Norwich International Airport (from Quaker Farm in the north-east all the way to the Cromer/Holt Road junction in the south-west), experts warned that traffic on the new road would show up on the airport’s radar system and consequently interfere with the safe arrival and departure of aircraft. In the summer of 2015, more than £2m from the public purse were for this reason spent to pay for a new radar system to be installed at the airport, despite the fact that the traffic which for many years now has been passing the airport's south-western perimeter on the busy Holt and Cromer roads never had a negative impact on the previous radar system.

Quaker Lane and St Faith's Road were cut off/closed.

TG2414 : Road Closed sign at the start of Quaker Lane by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : Pastures by Quaker Farm by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : St Faith's Road closed forever by Evelyn Simak

TG2214 : Security fencing by Evelyn Simak TG2114 : View along the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : The remains of an old oak by Evelyn Simak TG2213 : Take-off at Norwich International Airport by Evelyn Simak TG2114 : Museum displaced by new road by Evelyn Simak

TG2314 : Road closed by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : The blocked end of Quaker Lane by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : View towards Quaker Farm by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : The route of the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : The course of the NDR south of Quaker Farm by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : The route of the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2314 : View across the NDR by Evelyn Simak


Section 4 – Bullock Hill to North Walsham Road (B1150)

From Bullock Hill, the course of the NDR continues to follow the airport's perimeter and, changing its direction to south-easterly once again, it passes Quaker Farm and crosses roughly where Quaker Lane, St Faith's Road and a short footpath and access road to one of the airport's emergency gates meet. A bat gantry was constructed a short distance south of Quaker Farm. From here the NDR continues in easterly direction towards Buxton Road in Spixworth, where it passes under a new bridge taking Buxton Road over it. Passing to the south of Spixworth, it continues in north-easterly direction, heading towards the North Walsham Road roundabout.

South of the village of Spixworth a huge quantity of earth, required to reinforce the Buxton Road (C246) bridge under construction, was brought onto the NDR construction site in July 2016. The bridge beams were installed in October 2016, and the bridge completed and the old Buxton Road closed in March 2017. Work for the North Walsham Road roundabout started in October 2016 and was scheduled to be complete in June 2017.

TG2414 : View along Buxton Road by Evelyn Simak TG2414 : Building the Buxton Road bridge by Evelyn Simak TG2414 : The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2514 : The B1150 (North Walsham Road) by Evelyn Simak TG2514 : Drainage pipes ready for use by Evelyn Simak

TG2414 : Buxton Road Bridge foundations by Evelyn Simak TG2414 : Building the Buxton Road bridge by Evelyn Simak TG2414 : Buxton Road Bridge foundations by Evelyn Simak TG2414 : Building the Buxton Road bridge by Evelyn Simak


Section 5 – North Walsham Road (B1150) to Wroxham Road (A1151)

From the North Walsham Road roundabout the NDR continues in easterly and then south-easterly direction, cutting through the northern part of Beeston Park. Two bat gantries were constructed along this stretch, one to the north of North Park Cottage and another a short distance further east, where the NDR runs parallel with the eastern-most stretch of Beeston Lane. Continuing in easterly direction, the NDR then skirts the south-western edge of Lady's Carr, Waterlow and Strip Plantation, an area of ancient wood and wetland generally referred to as The Springs, before reaching the Wroxham Road roundabout.

The main line carriageway construction along this section was completed by late September 2017, with construction work for the Wroxham Road roundabout commencing in October 2016 and completed by June 2017. Drainage work near Rackheath Springs, which feed into the River Bure, commenced in late 2016 and was completed in May 2017. Rackheath Lane, a minor road linking North Walsham Road with Wroxham Road, further to the east, was closed at the North Walsham Road junction.

TG2713 : View north along the A1151 road by Evelyn Simak TG2713 : Tractor waiting to cross the A1151 road by Evelyn Simak TG2713 : The Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2713 : New road, new signage by Evelyn Simak

TG2614 : Road Closed sign at the start of a farm track by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Dumper truck by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Caterpillar on the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Dumper truck crossing farm track by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : The Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak

TG2614 : The NDR between North Walsham and Wroxham road roundabouts by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Newly planted trees by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Bat gantry spanning the NDR by Evelyn Simak TG2614 : Bat gantry spanning the NDR by Evelyn Simak


Section 6 – Wroxham Road (A1151) to Plumstead Road (C874)

At the Wroxham Road roundabout, the course of the NDR turns southerly, cutting first through Ortolan's Grove, to the north of which a bat underpass was constructed. Continuing south, the road skirts the site of the Sick quarters before cutting through the former Communal site of RAF Rackheath, which was an active airfield during WW2, through Newman Road (locally known as Bluebell) Wood and Heath Wood. Passing under the Newman Road overbridge it then turns south-easterly once again, heading for the Salhouse Road roundabout.

Work at the last major area of site clearance, through Bluebell Woods, recommenced in October 2016, when the route was widened to full dual carriageway width. Hundreds of English bluebell bulbs had already been rescued in June, picked out of heaps of soil deposited beside the route cutting through the wood. The bulbs were replanted at Rackheath Jubilee Park and Catton Park. Existing buildings at Hall Farm and Gazebo Farm were demolished during July of the same year.

End of August the course of the road was taking shape and sloping downwards in the direction of Round Hills, north of Newman Road, skirting the former Site 5 of RAF Rackheath which is now perched several metres above it. By the beginning of October, a wide swathe of trees had been felled taking the road through Heath (Bluebell) Wood and also exposing the hut base of the Institute on the Communal site of RAF Rackheath, which was removed together with the gymnasium as work progressed.

TG2712 : The old gymnasium by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Parked for the weekend by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Hall Farm - the farmhouse by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Hall Farm - the barns by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : View along the route of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak

 Newman Road beginning of October  Newman Road beginning of October  NDR approaching Newman Road beginning of October  NDR approaching Newman Road beginning of October  NDR from Newman Road to Round Hills, beginning of October

In April 2017 the beams for Newman Road bridge were placed, and the bridge completed in April 2017. Excavation work for laying the foundations started in December 2016.

TG2712 : Newman Road by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : View north along the route of the NDR by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Gazebo Farm by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Excavation work on the NDR by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The route of the NDR as seen from Newman Road by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The NDR cutting through Heath Wood by Evelyn Simak

TG2712 : The Newman track overbridge by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The Newman track overbridge by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The NDR between the Newman track overbridge and Salhouse Road roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The NDR between the Newman track overbridge and Wroxham Road roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : Salhouse Road roundabout by Evelyn Simak TG2712 : The Newman track overbridge by Evelyn Simak

The Salhouse Road (C283) roundabout was completed in February 2017. Piling work and construction of the Plumstead Road and Rackheath rail bridges commenced in August 2016, with completion in early 2018. The main line carriageway was also completed in early 2018. South of New Rackheath, Broad Lane, which links Salhouse Road and Norwich Road (C874), was permanently closed just north of the Norwich Road/Plumstead Road junction.

TG2812 : View along the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2812 : Construction of the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) by Evelyn Simak TG2812 : Construction of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2812 : The route of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2812 : Approaching the new Salhouse Road roundabout by Evelyn Simak

On Plumstead Road, 90 bridge foundation piles for the bridge carrying the NDR over the Norwich to Sheringham railway in Rackheath were installed in October 2016, with the work completed in mid-October, two months ahead of schedule. 50 king post piles creating a temporary protective wall alongside the railway line were also installed. In December 2016 the foundations for the road bridge were in the process of being constructed.

TG2811 : View west along Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : The route of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : The Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : The Northern Distributor Road will pass here by Evelyn Simak

TG2811 : The level crossing on Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : View along Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : Construction work on Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : A new bridge under construction by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : Construction site access south of Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : The route of the NDR north of Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak

In mid-January 2017, the 26 beams for the bridge which carries the NDR over Plumstead Road were hoisted into place by a crane which cost £8.000 a day to hire. The bridge beams for the railway bridge were laid in April.

TG2811 : A new bridge under construction by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : New bridge over Plumstead Road by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : Foundations for a new bridge by Evelyn Simak

TG2811 : Plumstead Road Roundabout South by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : View across Plumstead Road Roundabout South by Evelyn Simak TG2811 : Plumstead Road Roundabout South by Evelyn Simak


Section 7 – Plumstead Road (C874) to Postwick Hub

Continuing on its south-easterly course, the NDR reaches the Plumstead Road roundabout South, which is actually situated to the east of the course of Plumstead Road. A short distance further north-west, the Plumstead Road roundabout North, on Plumstead Road, links with Broad Lane, which was closed. Continuing in south-easterly direction, the NDR cuts through farmland and passes under a bridge which takes Middle Road over it. North of the Middle Road overbridge is the location of another bat gantry. The last and southern-most bat gantry was iinstalled where the NDR cuts through Smee Lane, a short distance further south. From here the road changes its course to south-westerly for the last few 100 metres before reaching the Business Park roundabout on the northern edge of the Postwick Hub, which at the time of writing (July 2016) was already complete and open to traffic.

TG2909 : Advertising the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2909 : The route of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak

TG2810 : Middle Road closed by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : Road construction machinery by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : Dumper truck by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : View north along the route of the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : Barriers north of Middle Road by Evelyn Simak

TG2810 : Part time signals on Low Road by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : Barriers and traffic signals by Evelyn Simak TG2909 : View along Smee Lane by Evelyn Simak TG2909 : View along the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak

Construction work on Middle Road bridge (C442), which was completed in March 2017, started in October 2016 and short sections of road to the south and north of Low Road were re-surfaced while landscaping, including the creation of two small ponds near the new Postwick roundabout is also under way. The main carriageway and its link into the already existing Postwick Hub was completed in mid-April 2018. The new bridge is described as being a "part-green" bridge. On completion of this bridge, both Smee Lane and Low Road were permanently closed as through roads.

TG2810 : Middle Road bridge (C442) after completion by Evelyn Simak TG2909 : Bat gantry crossing the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : The Northern Distributor Road past Smee House by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : The Northern Distributor Road traversing the Smee by Evelyn Simak

 Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October  Bridge building material, Middle Road  NDR, Middle Road beginning of October

 Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October  Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October  Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October  Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October  Middle Road Bridge, beginning of October

 NDR, Low Road  NDR, Smee Lane  NDR, Smee Lane  NDR, Smee Lane  NDR near Postwick roundabout

The route of the NDR bisects the crop fields between Smee Lane and Low Road, a short distance further to the north, as well as a public footpath which is now closed.

TG2809 : Surface water attenuation lagoon by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : Construction work for the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : Road construction on The Smee by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : Building the Northern Distributor Road by Evelyn Simak TG2810 : The Northern Distributor Road between Smee Lane and Low Road by Evelyn Simak TG2809 : Blocked public footpath by Evelyn Simak


The Postwick Hub, completed in July 2016 and located at the Norwich end of the NDR is being described by critics as over-engineered, and was closed for several weeks for the construction of a new segregated left turn lane at the Postwick North West (the old) roundabout, estimated to add another £100,000 to the cost, due to problems with traffic from the Gt Yarmouth direction heading into Thorpe St Andrew. A trial to test the proposed change had to be abandoned after 40 minutes because it caused long tailbacks. Following a safety audit, a pedestrian/cycle path and a toucan crossing were constructed at Broadland Way, and a number of other improvements, mainly to road markings and traffic signs, have also been identified. For instance, traffic has to cross the A47 twice via bridges to reach the A47 eastbound. Little wonder then that the Postwick Hub has been described as a fiasco and an utter shambles.


 Postwick roundabout  Footpath past Postwick roundabout  Postwick roundabout


In the early hours of 10 November 2017, the first section, comprising roughly a quarter of the dual carriageway between the A1067 (Fakenham Road) and the A140 (Cromer Road), was opened to the public, with Broadland district councillors, council officers and contractors taking part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on this (western-most) section of the road.

Several days later it emerged that the bill for the controversial road had increased to an estimated £205m, meaning that it currently costs £16.5m per mile. The additional costs were caused by several factors: the wait for the go-ahead for taking the route over the railway line at Rackheath and a change in design added £2.7m; diverting utilities such as gas pipes added an extra £6.2m; requirements to change design for stabilising the ground added £3.8m. The cost of buying land amounted to £1.5m. The construction firm which built the road, Balfour Beatty, made a profit of £12m in the first six months of 2017. Costs have ballooned and currently stand at £205m but could rise even further. According to a list published in the Eastern Daily Press (29 December 2017), Balfour Beatty was paid almost twice as much money as any other supplier from January to September in this year.

Despite the increase, the council's environment, development and transport committee in 2017 believed that the road is "a great project for Norfolk" and that "people will think it is worth the money", money which has as yet to be found "somewhere". At the same time the council is however reported to be consulting over cuts to services, including proposals which could see children’s centres closed and merged with libraries, less money spent on highways maintenance and money for rural buses reduced. (Source: Eastern Daily Press, 10 Nov 2017 and 17 Nov 2017). In May 2017, the Conservative manifesto for the county council elections had pledged a total of £20m for repairs for targeting potholes and small works of local concern, and strengthening the standard of our highways for the next four years. At a meeting in mid-January 2018, however, councillors were asked to use £12m of the £20m to cover the overspend for the NDR.

The section linking the A140 (Cromer Road) and the A1151 (Wroxham Road) was opened to all traffic on Thursday, 21 December, thus adding a further 7.5 km now open to traffic. The final three and a quarter miles of the dual carriageway were opened on 17 April 2018. Extensive housing schemes are in planning alongside the route.



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