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4 April 2014, 10:16 | Updated: 4 April 2014, 10:56
Work on the A47 Postwick junction near Norwich should start at the end of this month, after the Department for Transport released the money needed for it.
Preliminary work should start before the end of April, with main construction getting underway in May. Release of the money means that there has been no High Court challenge to the legal orders, approved by the Government in January following a detailed examination of the project at a public inquiry in July last year.
David Harrison, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Development and Waste, warmly welcomed the DfT's announcement that funding had been released.
"It has taken a long, long time to reach this point, but we can at last look forward to work starting on site. We are working with our main contractor, Birse Civils, to finalise the programme, but people will see preparatory work being carried out before the end of April, with main construction beginning in May.
"Lack of capacity at this junction has been stifling nearby business and housing development for years. There are existing planning permissions that can at last be activated, including a major expansion of Broadland Business Park, and the Broadland Gate development. Altogether improvement of the junction will unlock land for 1,600 homes, 5,000 jobs and £82m of private investment.
"The new junction will also provide a suitable connection to the A47 for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, which is just starting down the development approval path. A decision on the NDR should be made in the Spring of next year, but whatever the outcome, the improvement of the A47 Postwick junction has now been secured, which is great news.
"Of course there are other junctions on Norwich Southern Bypass, as well as elsewhere on the A47, that are also in need of improvement to support the Norfolk economy. We cannot afford for these to take five years before work can start."
Andrew Proctor, Leader of Broadland District Council, said: ?This is another important step forward in getting the Postwick junction improvement under way and is good news for Broadland and the county as a whole. We continue to support the development of jobs, housing and business in the area, as long as it is underpinned by the relevant infrastructure. With this funding in place it allows us to continue to support the growth agenda and meet those aims.?
Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council's Director of Environment, Transport and Development, paid tribute to all the people who had contributed to the project. "It's a difficult and complex junction to improve, not only in its design, but in the approval processes that we have had to follow. There's been a dogged determination in the team here at County Hall to see it through to construction, and it would not have been possible without support from many partners, including colleagues within the Highways Agency, Broadland District Council, the Greater Norwich Development Partnership, New Anglia LEP, Mott MacDonald and Birse Civils. We are all looking forward to work starting very soon, and completion in time for Christmas next year (2015)."