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Rush hour queues at Grapes Hill roundabout as traffic lights switched back on

PUBLISHED: 18:35 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 18:35 03 November 2014

Traffic using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Traffic using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

This was the familiar scene of queues at the Grapes Hill roundabout, as its traffic lights were switched back on today.

Engineers programme the traffic control lights as drivers using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY. Engineers programme the traffic control lights as drivers using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Workers huddled around a laptop under an umbrella as they set to programme the lights to best effect, reducing waiting times.

But there has been criticism of the decision to switch the lights back on, with residents claiming traffic flow was much more efficient without them.

Teresa Ireland, writing on Facebook, said: “It’s been so much better without the lights.”

Paul McGee added: “Just keep them off - traffic is so much smoother.”

Traffic using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY. Traffic using the Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich find that the traffic lights have been switched back on. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A county council spokesman said that the lights had to go back on for safety reasons, particularly as the ‘fifth arm’ of Chapel Field North re-opened.

While queues could be seen, there did not appear to be significant delays at 5.15pm - as rush hour got under way.

The lights had been turned off while some of the work on the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme was completed.

They were switched back on as Chapel Field North re-opened as a two-way road as well, although traffic can only get as far as the Chantry car park.

The changes have also seen a new bus lane installed in Grapes Hill.

On Friday, the change which is likely to cause the most disruption will begin, with general traffic banned from St Stephens Street.

The changes, just weeks before Christmas shopping gets into full swing, will mean:

• A bus gate at St Stephens roundabout banning all general traffic from entering St Stephens Street.

• Access only along Surrey Street from All Saints Green to St Stephens.

• A bus gate stopping general traffic from entering Rampant Horse Street from the Theatre Street/Chapel Field North direction.

• Right turn only for all vehicles from Westlegate into Red Lion Street. Only cyclists will be able to go straight ahead.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “The effect of these changes will be to remove most of the traffic from St Stephens Street and Rampant Horse Street, making them safer and more attractive as important shopping streets.

“It is also the final link in creating a better route into the city centre for buses, helping to cut journey times and make services more reliable.

“This route includes the new bus lane up Grapes Hill, Chapel Field North, along Theatre Street into Rampant Horse Street.”

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