A47 traffic light delays frustrate ‘rat run’ villagers

Villagers have vented their frustrations over delays to the activation of traffic lights aimed at easing rush-hour congestion and 'rat-running' at a busy A47 roundabout.

The junction with Mattishall Road at the eastern end of Honingham, between Norwich and Dereham, was redesigned to improve safety after a series of serious accidents.

But since its completion in February 2009, the roundabout has caused tail-backs for commuters, while many drivers have taken alternative routes through neighbouring villages in a bid to escape the queues and rejoin the roundabout with priority over A47 traffic.

To relieve the 'rat-running' problems, the Highways Agency (HA) installed traffic lights in March to control the Mattishall Road leg of the roundabout during the morning peak hours.

But the signals have still not been switched on due to delays connecting them to a power supply – work which the HA said would be completed later this month to allow the lights to be activated on July 19.

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Brian Winchester, of Honingham Parish Council, said: 'It was originally supposed to be operating from March 31, then we were told it was going to be May, then June, and finally we have been told it will be mid-July. The village thinks it is a good idea if they turn them on in time for Christmas so we could have some Christmas lights.'

Mr Winchester said he had been told the part-time signals, when operational, would work from 7.30-9.30am, with a 90-second red light and 20-second green light cycle to restrict traffic joining the A47.

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A statement from the Highways Agency said: 'Works to install traffic light signals on Mattishall Road prior to the roundabout with the A47 were completed on March 31. Unfortunately, work by utility companies to connect the signals to the supply and install a meter has taken longer than expected, but this should be completed on July 15.

'To ensure that the signals can now be switched on as soon as possible, we are arranging for testing of the signals to go ahead from July 6. We anticipate that the traffic signals will be switched on during the morning of July 19.'

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