Norwich’s Thickthorn roundabout could get £50m bypass

Traffic makes its way around Thickthorn roundabout at the junction of the A11 and the A47. A £50m scheme could see a new link road bypass the roundabout. Picture: Denise Bradley Traffic makes its way around Thickthorn roundabout at the junction of the A11 and the A47. A £50m scheme could see a new link road bypass the roundabout. Picture: Denise Bradley

Dan Grimmer Public affairs correspondent dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk
Monday, January 27, 2014
2:36 PM

A £50m bypass, tunnelling under the A11 and over the A47, could be created on the edge of Norwich to ease the pressure on one of the county’s busiest roundabouts.

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Proposed changes to Thickthorn roundabout junctionProposed changes to Thickthorn roundabout junction

The radical proposals have been drawn up as council bosses look to find a long-term solution for the Thickthorn roundabout, described by one leading figure as “one of the most important roundabouts in the county”.

That roundabout is already one of the county’s busiest and will come under even more pressure when the thousands of homes earmarked for Norfolk over the next two decades are built.

To plan for that, Norfolk County Council asked consultants Mott McDonald to look into possible solutions.

They came up with a number of schemes, but the one they identified as the best solution is for a £51m project which would see a new tunnel created under the A11 and a new bridge over the A47 southern bypass.

A new slip road would come off the Norwich-bound A11 approaching the roundabout and go under the A11, before sweeping over the bridge over the southern bypass and joining up with the Round House roundabout near Cringleford.

Traffic heading out of Norwich would have the option of coming off the Round House roundabout, crossing the A47 over the new bridge and joining the A11 beyond Thickthorn roundabout.

The council acknowledges it will have to convince the government to get the money for the scheme, but is ready to spend between £800k and £1m for a further two-year feasibility study into the bypass and other options.

David Harrison, cabinet member for environment, transport and waste at Norfolk County Council, said: “The county council recognises the crucial importance of the Thickthorn junction and is keen to see improvements in capacity made, given the growth agenda for Norwich in the years ahead.

“We have therefore commissioned further work by Mott Macdonald to underline the importance the county council attaches to the junction to support further dialogue with the Highways Agency.

“At a time when funding is at a premium, we will keep up the pressure to ensure Norfolk receives its fair share of funding to allow our economy to grow in a managed way.”

Chris Starkie, New Anglia LEP managing director, said the predicted growth in and around Norwich, and the expansion plans for Norwich Research Park, meant the junction would have to be improved.

He said: “Thickthorn junction is probably one of the most important roundabouts in Norfolk. It is the gateway to Norwich and the link between the A11 and the A47.

“Norfolk County Council, working with us, will be pushing the Highways Agency to fund necessary improvements as a matter of urgency.”

The Highways Agency, which has responsibility for maintaining the roundabout, confirmed it was talking to the county council about a long-term solution.

But the agency did reveal resurfacing work and improvements to the existing roundabout and its roads is due to start next month.

A spokeswoman said: “We are committed to safe and reliable journeys for road users. Work to improve the Thickthorn roundabout on the A11 by resurfacing it, and replacing all road markings and road studs is currently planned to be carried out next month.

“We will also make some changes to improve lane discipline around the junction. Details will be publicised in advance.”

• What do you think of the proposals? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

29 comments

  • Just checked the Highways Agency website. They say the work is supposed to start on 20th January but gives no details other than it will cost £600,000!!!! How can it possibly costs that much? Some one must be making a lot of profit out of this!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • They're about to start with the resurfacing and remarking in the next couple of weeks I believe. This new scheme is poorly thought out. It would be better to have a direct dual carriage way in and out of Norwich with slip roads that exit onto the southern bypass. This proposed scheme will just shift the congestion from the Thickthorn roundabout to the Round House roundabout.

    Report this comment

    Greg F

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • This company must be the same one that designed the Lowestoft relief road and forgot that Lowestoft has a river through it and therefore forgot to include a bridge in the plans, hence wasting 120million on a relief road that offers no relief.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Is it April the first again? The solution to this awful roundabout is very simple. Resurface it properly, put lane markings on it which actually make sense and finally, remove those stupid traffic lights. Roundabouts are self regulating and the traffic flow will improve immediately!

    Report this comment

    IT Man

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • just as important .. nice photo Denise Bradley, but who wrote the caption with its errant apostrophe in "it's"? Sort the grammar, then the roundabout!!

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • If the second roundabout wasn't there (to the east) then it would be good. All this will do is move traffic from one bottleneck to another. Stand to be corrected now, but the last time I used Thickthorn towards Norwich, I remember the lane markings were dodgy. Before the roundabout the road markings tell you to use the right lane for Yarmouth, yet as you go round it switches to two lanes or the middle one, so the drivers who ignore the road markings leading to the roundabout win!

    Report this comment

    robert quade

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Thank you MrMs Proof-Reader.

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Why is Norfolk County Council spending Council Tax payers money on this study when the roundabout is the full responsibility of the Highways Agency, i.e. Central Government.

    Report this comment

    Henry

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • just as important .. nice photo Denise Bradley, but who wrote the caption with its errant apostrophe in "it's"? Sort the grammar, then the roundabout!!

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Would suggest that the "council bosses" who dreamed this one up consult someone who knows what they are talking about. As this model would require the road,on exiting the tunnell to climb overall three times the height of the current A47 in a short distance. So together with a couple of snow flakes we will have a new ski slope in Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Roy Gooch

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Plenty of gritting bins gonna be needed on this route!

    Report this comment

    gilded beams

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Agree with the other comments about resurfacing and line painting. Also, I wonder how they think that by diverting Norwich CC bound traffic down the slip tunnel and then onto the wrong side of the roundhaouse way roundabout is going to help. All of this Norwich bound traffic will end up queuing whilst giving way to vehicles coming around the roundabout from the right from Norwich which it doesn't currently do. I really wonder where these traffic flow people live and if they understand local needs when they submit these ideas...

    Report this comment

    aj

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Any scheme that speeds up traffic flow must be applauded. However, having an extra bit of road that just transfers the problem to the next roundabout is pointless. What is needed is a design that does away with the need for traffic using the A11 LondonNorwich and NorwichLondon to have negotiate any roundabouts at all…… and whilst they are at it, lets get rid of the bus lane on Newmarket Road and get the traffic flowing!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Who lent the County Council £50,000. I thought they were bankrupt !! More lies I guess...........

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Why is Norfolk County Council spending Council Tax payers money on this study when the roundabout is the full responsibility of the Highways Agency, i.e. Central Government.

    Report this comment

    Henry

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • This is not needed at all. All the roundabout lacks is a decent road surface and better signs. It would be better to spend money putting a road through to the back of the NNUH.

    Report this comment

    blue tractor

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Life is full of things that should have been done better, and the A11 intersection with the A47 is only one of them. Obviously, the A11 should have been given a continuous route through the intersection with traffic sorting for alternative routes done at an intermediate level. If this proposal goes ahead there will be a messy and unsatisfactory scheme bringing through traffic bound for Norwich into conflict with traffic heading for the A47 at the Roundhouse rdbt. Some drivers will miss the bypass exit off the A11 or find themselves in the wrong lane so they will continue to the Thickthorn rdbt and have to weave their way into the other part of the A11 northbound flow at Roundhouse. While there are many flaws in this proposal, I doubt if there is a cheaper solution.

    Report this comment

    JCW

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Absolute joke. A bypass for a roundabout, not required if there weren't traffic lights and a correct roundabout layout. What is £50m going to bring, chaos at the NEXT roundabout. Re-think required immediately.

    Report this comment

    Paul-Michael Ebbens

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Agree with IT Man, especially replacing the awful road surface. Do it properly this time without that ridiculous road surface which wears out very rapidly where ever it is put. Just what is it meant to achieve? Also what 'bright' spark came up with a tunnel idea? If there must be a new junction - which I suspect will only transfer a problem to the other roundabout - surely two bridges will be a better and cheaper solution and without the traffic pollution side effects that will be generated by the steep gradient of the tunnel to bridge proposal. Is someone's pay related to total spend by any chance?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • IT Man-I couldn't agree more.With such a poor surface it is like driving through a ploughed field. The problems can be solved at a fraction of the proposed cost of this tunnel. There are bigger roundabouts around London which don't need to have tunnels.This is a publicity stunt the money can be better spent elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    Toxteth O'Grady

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Whether this plan, or an alternative, this roundabout is extremely dangerous and needs more than a few lane markings.

    Report this comment

    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • We keep building houses, bringing people into the county, yet our infrastructure remains stuck in past and a long way in the past at that.

    Report this comment

    Catton Man

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • It's going to be renamed the Pleasurewood Hills Interchange. Can't see this getting off the drawing board.

    Report this comment

    Tone the moan

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Sorry! should have been £50million.........

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • You leave those lights alone IT Man. Before they were put in, queues used to go back to Wymondham - and I mean that's where you first became stationery. Traffic on the roundabout travels too fast for it to perform without lights and you get people sat there simply watching a handful of evenly spaced cars speeding round it. Resurface it, and reinstate the lines for sure, but this roundabout works as along as people use it properly.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Release traffic from Yarmouth vi direct slip road on to. A47 south . Frees up time on roundabout to allow free flow south to north in to Norwich much cheaper option

    Report this comment

    k day

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • It'll never be built. It's just the first pie-in-the-sky for the year. With the council claiming near bankruptcy over the fine for the incinerator (if it doesn't go ahead) and money they don't have being spent on proposals for a road the majority don't want (NDR), it'll never get any funding from Norfolk council. With central government trying to reduce the deficit, they don't have a spare £50m to chuck away on a tunnel when £5m spent resurfacing, line painting and removing traffic lights would improve things no end. Just wait - the lack of movement will be blamed on central government's lack of funding, then they'll move onto the next imaginary project.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • Council bosses? Surely Ms. Hannam, should that not read county council economic development officers, or planners? How much of these 50 million will come from the council tax? and how can snarling up roundhouse roundabout be a priority when most of the development and house building has stopped?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 27, 2014

  • No,it will probably never happen, but at least Mott McDonald will be getting a tidy cut again.

    Report this comment

    Catton Man

    Monday, January 27, 2014

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

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