Acle Straight overnight work begins

STEPHEN PULLINGER Motorists were today bracing themselves for two months of road misery as major resurfacing work was due to begin on the A47 Acle Straight.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Motorists were today bracing themselves for two months of road misery as major resurfacing work was due to begin on the A47 Acle Straight.

The nine-mile stretch from Acle to Yarmouth is being closed overnight from 8pm-6am for up to eight weeks, while during the day motorists will face a 40mph speed limit and a ban on overtaking or stopping in lay-bys.

An overnight diversion to Yarmouth from Acle via Fleggburgh and Caister has been put in place, but has sparked concerns from villagers about the increased volume of traffic.

The transport chaos is set to get even worse from October 20 when Network Rail closes the rail link between Yarmouth and Norwich for two weeks - one of them being the half-term school holidays - for a £4.5m track refit.

While imploring visitors to continue to come to Yarmouth during the work, borough council leader Barry Coleman last night criticised the lack of co-operation between the Highways Agency and Network Rail.

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He said: "The government expects local authorities to work together with other agencies to achieve joined up action. It is unfortunate the government does not act the same way with its own agencies."

Mr Coleman said he had written to the Highways Agency and Network Rail demanding to know why their work could not have been done at different times, but he had yet to receive a reply.

Bert Collins, chairman of Yarmouth Tourist Authority, described the lack of communication and timing as "disgraceful" and said work should have been kept clear of school holidays.

"People are going to be held up and put off coming to Yarmouth. It is going to cause a lot of disruption and much of it could have been avoided."

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman voiced fears that Yarmouth's infrastructure was already under pressure from congestion at the Gapton Hall roundabout. He said: "I would have hoped the Highways Agency would not start major roadworks in the run-up to Christmas. It is bad news for town centre stores."

Insp David Ball, in charge at Acle road traffic police, said: "I don't expect any major issues during the work as long as people are tolerant and patient and accept there will be some disruption."

A Highways Agency spokesman said they would be staying in close contact with Network Rail but did not expect either works to cause major disruption.