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‘It will be a nightmare’ - Fears of gridlock as town’s ‘vital route’ set to close for ten weeks

PUBLISHED: 07:04 08 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:24 08 August 2020

Fears a town could be gridlocked, as work to supply 5,000 new homes with electricity could close Thetford's Nuns Bridges for up to ten weeks. Photo: Ian Burt

Fears a town could be gridlocked, as work to supply 5,000 new homes with electricity could close Thetford's Nuns Bridges for up to ten weeks. Photo: Ian Burt

Archant

Fears a town could be gridlocked have been raised as work to supply 5,000 new homes with electricity could close a “vital route” for up to ten weeks.

The Nuns Bridges in Thetford. Picture: Ian BurtThe Nuns Bridges in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt

Thetford Town Council held a special meeting, on Thursday, August 6, to discuss plans, lodged by Balfour Beatty, to tunnel electric cable under, or alongside, the grade II listed Nuns Bridges, to supply electric to the new homes being built on the Kingsfleet housing estate.

MORE: Power cables for 5,000 new homes could be tunnelled under town’s 500-year-old bridges

With the plans likely to be given the go ahead, which will close Nuns Bridges to all traffic for a number of weeks, Thetford councillor, Mike Brindle, said recommendations to minimise disruptions need to be “urgently” sent to Breckland Council for consideration.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “We are having 5,000 new houses built in Thetford which has already begun along the Norwich road and some have already been sold and are occupied.

“There is not sufficient electricity in Thetford for those houses so a new supply has to be created.

Thetford Town Councillor Mike Brindle.Thetford Town Councillor Mike Brindle.

“The effect is, during the time they are doing the work, there will be no road traffic over Nuns Bridges.

“We are now told that they are clear the work may take up to ten weeks.

“That means that all traffic will have to use Bury Road and Brandon Road or turn onto Norwich Road and London Road.

“This happened briefly for a few days last year and many of you will be horribly aware of the difficulties of driving around Thetford during that time, it was gridlocked.”

With a meeting of Thetford’s planning committee set to be held next week, on August 11, the town council are welcoming recommendations from the public to help ensure there are minimum disruptions, which could include work to begin in the summer holidays, weekends, or evenings.

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Mr Brindle, chairman of the town council planning committee, added: “I would certainly say it is a vital route in the town because it is one of only two ways of getting North to South, or vice versa.

“If you cut out one of those two routes it will be a nightmare. You will get people wanting to get across the town, on a journey which would normally take ten minutes, which could take up to 30 minutes in rush hour.

“We would welcome any suggestions from the public that would help to reduce the expected gridlock.

“We are hoping that Breckland Council will give Thetford a break and ensure this job is completed with the least upset to the town’s traffic.”


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