Drivers warned to brace themselves for delays as months of work on Norwich road starts today

A bus lane is to be added to Grapes Hill in Norwich. A bus lane is to be added to Grapes Hill in Norwich.

Monday, April 28, 2014
11:43 AM

Drivers have been reminded they are likely to face disruption when work starts today to put in a new bus lane on one of the city’s busiest roads.

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How will the changes affect me?

The Grapes Hill project will be followed by the Chapel Field North and St Stephen’s schemes.

The councils say these will create a new route into the city centre for buses, taxis and cycles, and remove general traffic from Rampant Horse Street (between Debenhams and Marks & Spencer), St Stephen’s Street and Surrey Street (from St Stephen’s to All Saints Green).

Changes that make this possible include:

• Making Chapel Field North two-way, with a 20mph speed limit and general traffic only allowed as far as the Chantry Car Park.

(Buses, taxis and cyclists will be able to carry on into Rampant Horse Street.)

• Removal of the pavement on the southern side of Chapel Field North, but with an improved cycle and pedestrian path inside • Chapelfield Gardens and pedestrian crossings to the north side pavement

• Two-way traffic on Cleveland Road from Grapes Hill Roundabout, allowing the closure of Little Bethel Street to vehicles

• Right turn only into Red Lion Street at the bottom of Westlegate for general traffic, so that it cannot cross into Rampant Horse Street.

As part of a £1.7m scheme, which will see a major shake-up in the way traffic uses Norwich’s city centre, a bus lane is to be added to Grapes Hill.

The bus lane will be on the southbound (uphill) carriageway and verges are being removed so there can still be two lanes alongside it.

Work to create the bus lane will start today and is due to take about three months to complete.

Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council, which are behind the work, says the road will remain open, but there will be lane closures.

The work is part of a major shake-up on how traffic uses the city centre.

Those changes will eventually see the removal of general traffic from St Stephens Street and Chapel Field North made two-way.

Altogether the three linked projects will cost around £1.7m, with some of the money coming from the Department for Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund.

Changes have already been made to the Chapelfield roundabout as part of the project.

David Harrison, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment, transport, development and waste, said: “These are important Transport for Norwich projects that will make it quicker and easier for buses to get into the city centre, and at the same time improve important shopping streets for pedestrians.

“The Government’s Better Bus Area fund is making an important contribution to the cost, and has also helped us develop a range of other improvements, including the ‘holdall’ smartcard ticket for Park and Ride, improved bus information and measures such as bus priority at traffic lights, and business travel packs.

“The aim is to make bus travel people’s first choice because it is high quality, reliable and easy to use.”

The changes have been welcomed by bus operators, who say it will speed up their services and improve punctuality.

Steve Wickers, commercial director Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk for FirstGroup plc, said: “The changes to Norwich city centre’s traffic network are welcomed by First and demonstrate what can be achieved through partnership working between local authorities, operators and other key stakeholders.

“The improvements to Chapel Field North in particular will allow us to reroute our busy Blue Line services which link the station, city centre and university, offering a more direct journey with fewer delays.

“The changes are good news for Norwich, as bus passengers will benefit from improved reliability of services encouraging more people to use the bus.”

Julian Patterson, managing director of Konectbus/Anglianbus, said: “These significant improvements to bus flow in the city centre will further enhance the appeal of bus travel by enabling quicker access to shops and businesses and removing some of the timetable unpredictability by not sharing road space with car park queues.”

Campaigners had hoped to secure a High Court judicial review of the decision to make Chapel Field North two-way.

They said the noise and vibration of an endless flow of heavy traffic would threaten the foundations and fabric of some of the most attractive and historically important homes in the city.

But judge Elizabeth Cooke rejected all their arguments.

• What’s your view on the traffic shake-up? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

39 comments

  • Free Bus passes and other such niceties will all have to come to an end some time as there wont be enough 'employed' people left to fund it all.

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    Resident Smith

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • I simply don't understand the opposition for this scheme. Chapelfield North will still have two lanes running on it. Most of the buildings on that road seem fine as they are. Chapelfield Gardens has become much better since the path refurbishment and entrance creation. Little Bethel Street being closed will be far more safer. Its dodgy walking on there at the best of times. Grapes Hill will become more accessible for all commuters. The city obviously has to manage the buses somehow. This is one way. The new trees planted in the central reservation are to replace the older ones cut down previously. They follow the path of the new thinner reservation. Doing nothing is not going to solve any of the city's problems.

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    fjq11

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • Who are these councillors. Who gave the go ahead to waste more public £££££££

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    Norwich

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • "The fare structure of bus operators has to be reformed,"......not in a free market it doesn't. Prices are set by the operator. Nobody has any powers to tell them what they can charge. That was only possible in the bad old days of public ownership and regulation, and we wouldn't want to return to that now, would we! ;)

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    marty r

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • well said Albert C + Ingo W - couldn't agree more!

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    biglingers

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • This is all about buses and how they get used. I recently got a bus pass. Until then using the bus was unaffordable in this area. It was cheaper to use the car. Now I can use the bus, it is invariably late, some regularly don't run at certain times, and it is not possible to rely buses at all. Half-hearted attempts at partial bus lanes will make very little difference and just upset people. There were opportunities to use the two old stations and there track beds for trams which would have been a sensible solution, but the private operators would have made the system fail by charging double any reasonable price as they do now with buses. IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO USE BUSES HALVE THE FARES AND THE CARS WILL DISAPPEAR.

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    Max Headroom

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • The fare structure of bus operators has to be reformed, it is not condusive to users. Norwich bus companies should take Edinburgh's example were a day ticket, the equivalent of Norwich fusiopn ticket, costs £3.50 on all buses within the wider City limits. This encourages bus use, whilst the £6.00 fare here is a hurdle. A direct time information system that shows users the exact time it will take until their bus arrives at the stop is another user friendly system. For those conveniences Edingburgh's commuters have the right change in their pockets as no change is given, making it safer for bus drivers, here in Norwich they have to carry cash and are vulnerable. Whats been past here as promoting bus use, is puny, a token effort by toads who don't want to make the City Norfolk more user friendly.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

  • Even if i agreed with the idea of a bus lane, i cannot believe that putting in about 200 yards of single lane bus lane will take 3 months of disruption. If this was being paid for by a private company, rather than a public body, i would expect it to be done in less than half that time. With correct planning, 24 hour working etc, 3 months is a disgraceful length of time to bring this area to a standstill.

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    DaveG

    Friday, April 25, 2014

  • As I have said,you are all paying for this nonsense! When they start work on Grapes Hill and you are trying to get in the city it will focus peoples attention on how much misery and disruption this unnecessary work is going to cause! All I can say is that I am glad I'm retired and don't have to go into the city on a regular basis, and I'm sorry for people who do!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Well I hope the expense will be worthwhile and hopefully the fares will be realistic to encourage more passengers. Somehow I doubt it - and unless you have a service which covers a wide area regularly the buses will charge around half empty most of the time.

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    littlenewshound

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • If you want to know why they are putting in bus lanes, this is all part of the plan to force people out of their cars into buses. Expect more prioritisation to be given to buses in the future. The new housing development off the Salhouse Road has as one of its aims to reduce private car ownership through the introduction of 'transparent parking prices.' The aim is to get 50% of households participating in car ownership clubs instead of owning cars. The Broadland District website has full details.

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    andy

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • @So_Many_Haters!. Just look outside on the average week, or morning and evening commute. Single occupancy cars everywhere, congesting many parts of the city to a standstill.. Making it worse for everyone and themselves in the process. Its not fair or right that it continues if we have options to change it. If you want to drive in with 4 people in your car that's your right. But lets encourage more friendly, environmental, less selfish modes of transport for the betterment of everyone. BTW...bus on the left.

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    monkeynuts

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • A number of those vehicles have two occupants at the front. What you can't determine from the photo is whether there are back-seat passengers. Also, the angle of the sun would indicate late afternoon or early evening, so these could be people heading home from work, rather than people going shopping, so they wouldn't necessarily be going into the city but trying to get around the city centre. You'll also notice that there are no buses in the photo, so you could ask "why do we need a bus lane?" There's only so much you can guess from one picture that could have been taken on a Sunday evening.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • @So_Many_Haters!. A valid point for sure, but you're missing the bigger picture. Look at the photo at the top of the article. These are not families of 4, they are individuals in individual cars. Its a typical sight that cannot nor should not continue. Anyway. All the major parking spots will still be available, people might have to use their feet....the horror.

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    monkeynuts

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • "Everyone moaning...take the bus". Hmm. Just to take my family into the city on the bus would cost me £15.70. Commuting to work on the bus would take anything from 1hr 10min to 1hr 30min, if the buses turn up at all, let alone on time. I can do the commute in 25min on a motorbike, keeping to the speed limits. As for driving into the city - £5.80 to park and £2.50 in petrol. Which option makes the most financial and time sense?

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Great news. Cant happen soon enough. Everyone moaning...take the bus. Look at that photo, close to 20 cars transporting maybe 20 people. People complaining that buses are bad for the environment, I can grantee you they are not as bad as single occupancy cars. More busses, more cyclists and less cars. You might not like it now, but in the long run its by far and away the better option.

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    monkeynuts

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • The people who ripped up the tramlines in Britain's cities have committed an equivalent level of vandalism as Beeching did to the railways.Surely it is not beyond the wit of modern-day thinking to re-create a green transportation system based on trams for a 21st century city?

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Ahh talking of potholes, there are two close by on the Fakenham Road at the junction of Fir Covert Road. I located on Norfolk County Council website as section where you can report potholes so they can be attended to. But to report them using an online form, the potholes must be at least 40mm deep. Who in their right mind will squat in the middle of a main road to measure the depth with a tape measure? Not me!!

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    kfoto

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Amazing - let's spend a huge amount of money and destroy the natural landscaping work done over the years for.... smallest benefit in journey times. First must have great lobbyists working for them, as the costbenefit of this is 'questionable' at best - let alone when council spend is looking to be cut. Oh well... its only our taxes being spent.

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    walkerman1009

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Just another thought elections are due, vote them out

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    Derek McDonald

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Unfortunately all the comments on here will have no effect! Part of the reason council tax has doubled over the last 10 years is the wasting of money on grandiose projects like this! Giving priority to the biggest polluters,buses pumping out diesel fumes is a bad mistake,for which we will all pay,financially and in respiratory disease!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Funny how the major problems seem only to occur during school term time - get rid of the schools - problem solved!

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    Dick

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • This will only work if there was a bus lane all the way down dereham road into the city and not little bits here and there.

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    Jamie Knights

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Do all the road repairs during the early hours of the night, theres hardly a soul on the roads after midnight, whatever time of day they are going to annoy people, during the day it will be drivers etc at night it will be residents.

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    Footyboy16

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Why can't this pointless work be done during the school summer holidays when traffic Is less busier, more to the point why waste all this money in the first place, it would have been better repairing the pot holes.

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    Derek McDonald

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Typical, busiest time of the year coming up and we embark on yet another hair brained scheme. How about we put it on hold, spend a few million on an enquiry and then give out another few million in compensation and cancel the proposed project later in the year. May as well maintain continuity in the stupidity stakes.

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    Mr T

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • I am born in this city from 65 years and some of the changes have been good like the Magdalen Street flyover. But the rest leaves a lot to be desired. It was once said that this city was the first to have a one way system and what a confusing mess! I rarely drive into the centre but when I do, one thing I always wonder at is the traffic light controls. There is always a bottle neck because of untimely traffic lights. The traffic lights at the Queens road by the bus station spend more time on green for buses leaving the bus station when there was just one, than for the traffic going east. This then causes a bottle neck at St Stephens roundabout, with a knock on effect all the way up Newmarket road for cars coming into the city. Rather than waste money creating a bus lane and now for 3 months with summer traffic on Grapes Hill, they use this money to recalibrate the traffic lights around the city. Another bottle neck is St Crispins roundabout with Pitt street. Crazy ill timed traffic lights in Pitt street cause a back log to the roundabout and congestion. I think the road planners and those concerned with traffic light sequencing, need their heads testing.

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    kfoto

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • “The aim is to make bus travel people’s first choice because it is high quality, reliable and easy to use.”.........What planet is this guy living on?

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    marty r

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Council pandering again to WorstBus's profits. This is OUR money they're spending. What a disgrace!.....................................Remember that council elections are mere weeks away!

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    marty r

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Thank heavens I'm retiring early next year so I can stop the daily grind of getting into & out of the city. I'm sure the city planners have all sorts of qualifications... shame they don't appear to have a shred of common sense amongst them.

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    robert

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Well I never use the buses although I could get a free bus pass. They take too long and I can usually get a parking spot quite close to city centre if not at a mates business park and walk. IMO total waste of money putting more bus lanes in.

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    JEN

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • It'll need more than improvements in bus flow and shaving 30s off bus times to make people use buses.

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    cubes

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • If i remember correctly Liverpool and a couple of other large towns and cities have done away with bus lanes, this is going to top the BIG mistake of the Dereham Road bus lane.

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    mattc1

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • In time stuff like this will be looked back on and people from the future will say, "Why would they do that, That was stupid"

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    norwichlad23

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • The buses are the problem with the congestion in the city not the cars and any congestion with regards cars is due to poorly timed traffic signals. And buses are far heavier than cars so they will do a lot more damage to the foundations of buildings than a light car would. The Judge responsible for letting all this go ahead rejected all the arguments of residents who live in the chapelfield area. Waist of money and more unnecessary removal of an attractive piece of greenery. Just like the bus station another piece of poor workmanship from NCC.

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    norwichlad23

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Just remember it's your money they are spending on this latest piece of traffic planning insanity, and the state of the roads in East Anglia are is so bad that billions need spending to get them up to a minimal standard! As your car bounces out of yet another pothole,just remind yourself of where the council's priorities lie!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Of course, what nobody at First or Norwich CC will admit to is that the buses are the cause of most of the city centre jams - double parking, ask using St Stephens instead of the purpose built bus station, pulling out without bothering to wait for a gap, etc. The attitude of the council seems to be that cars are evil, so find ways to get rid of cars without openly banning them.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Presumably they will now destroy the new trees that they have just planted on the central reservation? Were they hoping we wouldn't notice?

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    Max Headroom

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Brace yourselves and leave your cars at home,shop locally,and stay where you are !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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