Proposals to narrow traffic lanes on a busy Norwich road to squeeze in a new bus route are to go before the public.

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First buses travelling along Grapes Hill, Norwich at its junction with Dereham Road. Photo: Steve AdamsFirst buses travelling along Grapes Hill, Norwich at its junction with Dereham Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Transport officials have developed designs, estimated to cost £920,000, to widen parts of Grapes Hill to help buses travel quicker southbound toward the Chapel Field Road roundabout.

But to create a bus lane while keeping two lanes for general traffic, the plans include reducing the width of the existing southbound lanes from 3.75 metres to three metres.

It is hoped the tighter lanes might prompt motorists to slow down in the 30mph limit, although officials have warned it may prove troublesome for lorries to travel southbound side-by-side.

They added buses will struggle to overtake cyclists safely. The new bus lane will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and also allows taxis and cycles to use it.

First buses travelling along Grapes Hill, Norwich at its junction with Dereham Road. Photo: Steve AdamsFirst buses travelling along Grapes Hill, Norwich at its junction with Dereham Road. Photo: Steve Adams

But the Grapes Hill designs intend to encourage pedal bikes onto a new parallel route from the St Benedicts Street junction into Wellington Lane.

A public consultation on the idea is expected to begin in September, while work to develop the new road layout could start next April.

Norwich city and Norfolk county councillors have welcomed the idea of a new bus lane, which is linked to efforts to speed up bus trips in Dereham Road.

But they have expressed caution about the proposed width of the lanes.

Mervyn Scutter, Norfolk county councillor for Norwich Eaton, told the Norwich Highways Agency Committee: “It seems to me going from 3.75 metres to three metres is a 20pc reduction. As someone very familiar using that road, I don’t feel I have 20pc of spare space going up that road when there’s a lot of traffic in it.

“I am broadly in support of the plan but this presents a problem, which I know there’s no easy solution but I hope it will highlighted in the consultation.”

Denise Carlo, Green Party Norwich city councillor for Nelson ward, said she supported the plan put forward, as the three-metre bus lane would affect fewer trees than a four-metre bus lane.

She added: “Slightly reducing the width for vehicles, hopefully that will slightly slow down vehicles. They do tend to rush up to the junction.”

The changes were welcomed as a “real bonus for bus users” by Bert Bremner, Labour city council cabinet member for transportation.

He added it will make buses more reliable, which should encourage more people to use the services instead of cars.

Joanne Deverick, city council transportation and network manager, told councillors the plan had been “safety audited”.

She said: “The three-metre lanes, it’s perfectly achievable for a couple of cars to run up the hill together and it might even slow them down.

“Two HGVs - it will be tight. One or the other may have to give way.”

It had been previously thought attempts to speed up bus journey times in Dereham Road and into the city, including the Grapes Hill lane, relied on Chapel Field North being made two-way for buses.

But funding has yet to be secured for the Chapel Field North changes, meaning the Grapes Hill lane will end just short of Chapel Field Road roundabout.

The Grapes Hill project will be funded by central government under the better bus area initiative.

16 comments

  • What an absolutely ridiculous idea. Which planet to the people who come up with these harebrained schemes live on? Obviously not one where the bus is a minority form of transport because the private company that runs them has priced themselves out of the market!

    Report this comment

    IT Man

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • When the first motor cyclist or pedestrian is squashed due to this unworkable road design, I do hope that no bus is held up in anyway, by the paramedics shoveling up the remains of the unfortunate victims.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • 24 hour bus lanes with no 24 hour bus service....are these people really that thick at city hall?....nuLabour = madness.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • Cue rants from petrolheads and car junkies.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • If its anything like the pointless bus lane on dereham road grapes hill junction then it will be a waste of money. I would of thought there was plenty of space to widen the road

    Report this comment

    david106

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • Yawn! - oh sorry, am I supposed to be impressed? Ist. - get a company that can operate buses for the public - not shareholders. 2nd - take all buses off the streets that are not actually in service, freeing up bus stops etc. 3rd - try the above. Then you may have a chance!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • Total waste of time and money, when the NDR is completed, so i have no need to drive through the city, the congestion will be less anyway

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • What a great idea. It's up there with chocolate teapots! Why should a few buses, run by a greedy company, get priority on Norwich's roads over the majority of tax paying motorists?

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    Whiley Boy

    Monday, July 30, 2012

  • Why do Archant feel the need to get a quote from Denise Carlo on any trafffic related matter?

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • so this will make it easier for empty bus's to ride around city then ??? make the bus's smaller and the lanes for cars only ! i guess you dont look into how full these said bus's are do you ! scrao the lot of them , tax and insure adult pushbikes and then the city will be a nice place to walk round . cough cough choke choke on diesel fumes !!!

    Report this comment

    adinorwich

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • More kow-towing to WorstBus again. Why the h*ll should the ratepayers of the city pay to facilitate what is, after all, a private money making business. What next - special lanes for ice-cream vans?!!!

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • well said--the buses are run as a business pure and simple.why should cars suffer with narrow lanes?Most people use cars and they should be catered for as taxpayers.Buses are way over priced(for those that pay)and why should politicians use buses as a cheap "green credential" way of point scoring?

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

  • What a great idea. It's up there with chocolate teapots! Why should a few buses, run by a greedy company, get priority on Norwich's roads over the majority of tax paying motorists?

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Monday, July 30, 2012

  • bookworm - when's your pass due? soon I hope!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

  • bookworm - when's your pass due? soon I hope!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

  • put a working speed camera on there if you want to slow people down. reducing the width of the road is just plain dangerous.

    Report this comment

    skeeler

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

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