£2.5m train station plan could slash city bus times

Norwich Railway Station, where Robbie Ryan was arrested with a phone and £1,880 for a drug dealer

Roads around Norwich Railway Station could see a £2.5m revamp  - Credit: Archant

A £2.5million plan aims to make big changes for walkers, cyclists and public transport around Norwich railway station.

The plans will see improvements at junctions for cars, priority lanes for buses, taxis and cyclists, new pedestrian routes and cut bus journey times by around a third. 

Members of Norfolk County Council’s transforming cities committee heard the plans for the station ahead of putting them out to public consultation.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the committee, praised the plans, saying it would be doing something to improve one of the busiest areas in the city. 

The committee members also welcomed the proposals, with councillor Brian Watkins saying: "I hope the proposals turn out to be an important step in improving overall connectivity between the railway station and the bus station.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Pict

Committee chair, Martin Wilby, welcomed the proposals - Credit: Simon Parkin

"Access between those hubs has to become much easier, much quicker and much better coordinated."

The plan would see several existing pedestrian island on the Foundry Bridge junction removed and a widened signalised crossing installed Riverside Road leg of the junction.  

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On Thorpe Road, which carries more than 300 buses a day, the stretch between Riverside Road and Lower Clarence Road will be made into a bus lane to improve journey times into the city centre. 

Improvements to provide footway continuity are mooted for side roads off Riverside Road to benefit pedestrians, while Chalk Hill Road and St Matthews Road could become one way to stop rat-running.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

The scheme also provides the opportunity to link with the existing cycle lane at the eastern end of Prince of Wales Road and which continues along Rose Lane, providing a segregated cycle route into the city centre. 

The plans have already seen support from First Buses who said the plans will “vastly reduce the journey time between the rail station and the city centre and destinations beyond”. 

First said they anticipate peak journey times from the Thorpe Road stop to the city centre will be 3-4 minutes, down from 10-12 minutes at peak times. 

First bus in Norwich city centre. Photo: Steve Adams

First bus in Norwich city centre. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The introduction of the bus lane along Thorpe Road will result in general traffic heading into the City from the east along Thorpe Road being re-routed, with plans to improve coordination between the traffic signals. 

The scheme has been put forward as part of the Department for Transport's Transforming Cities Fund, which has seen £32m awarded to the city for its roads network. 

The plans were approved for going out to public consultation, which is expected to start in March.  

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