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Brakes put on £700,000 cycle improvement work in Eaton amid budget blunder

PUBLISHED: 10:12 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:31 17 April 2017

Eaton Street, where improvements have been put on hold because they were going over budget. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Eaton Street, where improvements have been put on hold because they were going over budget. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A controversial multi-million shake-up of how traffic is managed in Norwich has been hit by a fresh blunder - after a £700,000 project had to be put on hold because it was going over budget.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: SubmittedJudith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Submitted

Work was due to begin on a shared cycle path along Eaton Street, between Eaton and Cringleford on the edge of Norwich, this month as part of a bigger scheme.

But council bosses have had to postpone the work after finding that the construction costs and price of managing traffic had started to go over budget.

They have put it on hold while they figure out which sections of it they can afford to do.

A spokesman for Transport for Norwich, the joint Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council project behind the £315m changes around the city, said it was during talks with contractor Tarmac to finalise costs that the budget issues became clear.

The finished cycle lanes in the road on The Avenues. - the original plan was for them to be  dedicated lanes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe finished cycle lanes in the road on The Avenues. - the original plan was for them to be dedicated lanes. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: “Due to the complexity of the project, these costs have started to exceed the budget and funding available, meaning that we need to postpone work to review the individual elements involved.

“As part of this process, we will look again at consultation feedback and which aspects of the project deliver the greatest benefits to the area while also providing value for money.

“The final way forward is still under discussion but is likely to involve building the project in two separate phases – one in Eaton and one in Cringleford.

“It is hoped that the Cringleford section can be joined with work

to the A11 slip road in the area and be delivered this summer. We are reassessing the project in Eaton in light of traffic management costs involved to construct the scheme but are still planning to deliver improvements in the area.”

The efforts to improve cycling in Norwich has had previous problems, including when a scheme in The Avenues had to be changed because of tree roots.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, said the councils did not have good track records.

She said: “They don’t deliver on budget and don’t deliver according to the plan. The Avenues is a classic example of that, not taking tree roots into account and having to redesign a less favourable scheme for cycling.”

She said the delay could at least allow a rethink over the shared cycle path, which she feared could be dangerous.

As well as the shared cycle path in Eaton Street, the project is also meant to include:

Cutting traffic speeds to 20mph through a change in the speed limit and introduction of traffic calming

Installing a zebra crossing over Colney Lane and another over Newmarket Road in Cringleford to help people cross the road

Narrowing the entrance to Intwood Road to slow turning traffic and help people cross the road on foot

Installing traffic signals either side of the Cringleford Bridge, which respond to the amount of traffic crossing in each direction.

Simplifying pedestrian crossings in the centre of Eaton

Moving the stop line back in Bluebell Road so buses can turn left from Eaton Street more easily

Providing a toucan crossing on Church Lane to give a crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists

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