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Cost fears trigger rethink over part of £2.75m Prince of Wales Road traffic shake-up

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 17 September 2018

Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Decisions on £5.5m of changes to how traffic uses Norwich will be taken this week, with shake-ups for Prince of Wales Road and Earlham Road likely to be rubber-stamped.

Councillors will also decide whether to introduce 20mph limits on dozens more roads in the north of the city, Lakenham and Eaton.

Members of the Norwich highways agency committee, made up of city and county councillors, will consider changes to part of a £2.75m revamp of the roads around Prince of Wales Road.

Officers say they need to revise that scheme after they realised what had been agreed previously would cost too much and that managing the traffic during the work would “have a significant impact on the travelling public” for too long.

Work on the first phase of the Transport for Norwich project is due to start in November.

It will see King Street closed and pavements on Rose Lane widened with improve cycling facilities.

The original plan had been to close off Prince of Wales Road to general traffic, but that was scrapped when traffic modelling showed it would actually slow buses down.

New contraflow cycle lanes will be installed in Prince of Wales Road and Bank Street, with a shared cycleway in King Street.

But, at Thursday’s meeting, councillors will be asked to agree some revised proposals, specifically in the area around Mountergate, where work is due to start in spring next year.

The original plan had been to close Eastbourne Place and to allow traffic exiting Mountergate, where the multi-storey car park is, to turn right at the junction with Rose Lane.

But the revised proposals would mean traffic could not do that. Instead, Eastbourne Place would stay open, but with reversed traffic flow.

That would mean traffic exiting Mountergate and wanting to go right would have to cross on to Eastbourne Place before turning right on to Prince of Wales Road.

Officers said: “Detailed discussion on the traffic management requirements required to implement the agreed scheme at Eastbourne Place demonstrated that these would be complex, and have a significant impact on the travelling public over an extended period of time.

“This would also have significantly impacted on the scheme cost.”

Earlham Road set for changes in £1.7m schemes

Cyclists look set to benefit from two schemes which would see £2.5m of changes to Norwich’s Earlham Road.

Councillors are being asked to agree £1.7m of changes to Earlham Road, with new cycle lanes, improved crossing and a 20mph speed limit on a section between Christchurch Road and Heigham Road.

There would also be changes to the roundabout where Earlham Road and the ring road meet, with redesigns to make it safer for people on bicycles.

And the Norwich highways agency committee will also be asked to agree to £750,000 changes to the Fiveways roundabout. There would be new shared pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, while the lanes on the roundabout would be narrowed to slow traffic.

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport awarded just over £1.7m towards the two schemes. If permission is granted, work on both the schemes would take place next year.

Decision over 20mph limits for hundreds of city streets

Speed limits will be cut to 20mph in hundreds more streets in Norwich, if councillors agree to the move on Thursday.

Councillors are asked to agree to lower the limits in more than 300 streets in Lakenham, Tuckwood, Eaton, Catton Grove and Fiddlewood.

Council officers say the move, which would cost £300,000, will improve safety, particularly along the blue and yellow pedalways.

But, people in Eaton, were concerned the proposals there were, as one resident put it, “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

They aid Greenways and Church Lane did not need traffic calming, so officers have suggested the 20mph limit there would be for an experimental period. James Wright, Eaton city councillor, said that was a sensible way forward.

Proposals in Lakenham have also been controversial. Families have started a petition because of a move to put double yellow lines in Theobald Road.

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