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Fatal crash reignites concerns over one road access to housing estate

PUBLISHED: 08:40 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 16 February 2019

Sir Alfred Munnings Road, Queen's Hills.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sir Alfred Munnings Road, Queen's Hills. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A fatal crash in Norwich on Friday reignited the row over issues over access to a housing estate.

Tim EastTim East

A woman in her late teens was killed in a crash on Dereham Road between a cement mixer lorry and a car at around midday, closing the road into the evening.

But the knock-on effect caused traffic chaos around the Queen’s Hill estate, where residents claimed they could not get in or out.

Matt Long tweeted to say the crash had “trapped residents in the Queen’s Hills estate” as there is just one road into the area and an access road had not been opened to relieve the pressure.

And many motorists were trapped at Longwater retail park for more than an hour.

In 2015 this newspaper launched a campaign on the issue, after residents regularly reported gridlock.

At the time some people living in the area said they were considering moving and one woman, who was six-and-a-half months pregnant, was fearful of would happen if she went into labour and the roads were blocked.

Tim East, county councillor for Costessey and also a councillor on the town council, said the problem had been going on for 12 years.

He said: “The big problem is the bus lane is not open, that would resolve it because when there are congestion problem, like with this accident, it’s supposed to be opened up for emergency use.”

Mr East said there was a protocol in place that during “exceptional circumstances” motorists could use a restricted bus link route to Ringland Lane.

But this was dependent on the bus link being adopted, and after Konectbus made changes to its number five route last year - cutting out Dereham Road, Queen’s Hills, and Longwater Lane - this had not happened.

The emergency access route is a single lane that is blocked by a bus gate to prevent it from being used as a rat run.

Only the police would be able to open the gate to traffic, either by contacting the council’s traffic control room at County Hall, or by using a special key.

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