Council wants £15m contribution for Norwich bypass job

Highways Reporters

Norfolk County Council wants the government to contribute almost £15 million to help meet the rising costs of a bypass in Norwich.

The local authority is attempting to find an extra £30 million to close a funding gap ahead of work starting on the Northern Distributor Road (NDR).

The council is planning to contribute £15m to cover half the £29.9m shortfall and wants the government to cover the remainder.

Until now, the NDR cost estimates – developed with the main contractors Birse Civils (now Balfour Beatty Civils) – have been based on 2013 prices. This has now risen by £29.9m, with construction cost inflation and unavoidable design changes – largely higher standard environmental protection measures – accounting for most of the increase. The NDR is now set to cost a total of £178.45m and Norfolk County Council is pressing the government to meet half the £29.9m extra cost.

Cllr George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a vital infrastructure project for Norwich and Norfolk. It brings real jobs and economic growth, with travel and transport improvement that will benefit thousands of people every day, and a £1bn-plus boost to the Norfolk and national economy.

"It's hugely disappointing that delays beyond our control have caused increased costs and I think it’s right that we press government to do what’s right by Norfolk and meet us half way.

"Norfolk has been particularly disadvantaged by recent government decisions, so I very much hope that our proposal to meet the government half way and to put up a further £15m ourselves will be met by an equally generous contribution from them. After all, this is one of the best value for money schemes in the country."

An Extraordinary Council Meeting has been called for Wednesday 2 September to present members with a report on the final target costs for the NDR, and to consider how the NDR budget gap should be handled.

Norfolk County Council obtained Development Consent in June for a 20km dual carriageway to run from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road at Attlebridge. The County Council has already submitted a request to the Department for Transport for an additional contribution from national funds. The DfT has allocated £67.5m for the Postwick to A140 (Norwich Airport) stretch, on top of £19m that has already been released for the Postwick Hub A47 junction improvement.

The £29.9m overall increase on previous estimates has been partially offset by a £5m contingency and smaller savings elsewhere and includes:

Total construction cost increase £26.4m (from £77.8m to £104.2m). These include construction inflation, higher environmental specifications and additions to the design resulting from the Development Approval process.

Land costs up £1m (from £16.2m to £17.2m), reflecting increased land values.

A £1.95m increase in costs associated with obtaining development consent, supervision, and contingency allowances.

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