Diss celebrates backtrack on roadworks

People in Diss were today celebrating a county council decision to rethink notorious roadworks that have left the town gridlocked.

People in Diss were today celebrating a county council decision to rethink notorious roadworks that have left the town gridlocked.

On Tuesday the town ground to a halt the instant temporary traffic lights were switched on at the junction of Victoria Road and Mere Street, where a new roundabout is being installed.

Highways officials gave no warning of the chaos about to ensue - and then said the traffic lights would be in place every weekday for two weeks while resurfacing took place.

Following a bombardment of criticism from motorists, businesses and civic leaders in the town the traffic lights were switched off again on Wednesday.

Officials stated that lane closures would be limited to next week only - but the damage had been done, with businesses reporting that Diss had already become a ghost town.

With pressure mounting on the county council, today it again changed its policy - announcing to the delight of residents that the remainder of resurfacing work would now take place at night.

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Project engineer Quentin Brogdale said: “In light of traffic problems on Tuesday, we have reviewed our plans.

“The only way in which the road work can be completed whilst avoiding major traffic delays is to complete work on the road at night and carry out other associated work during the day.”

Evening and night work will begin on Monday, lasting until Sunday November 12, with work taking place between 6.30pm and 3am.

The area around the Mere Street junction, opposite the Morrisons supermarket, contains a handful of residential flats above shops, so noisier work will take place during early evenings.

Highways officials also said that Mere Street will no longer be closed on Sunday, when the closure of the A11 Attleborough bypass will push more traffic through Diss.

District councillor Tony Palmer welcomed the moves which he said were “the right thing to do”.

“The county council has finally listened to everyone at last,” he said. “I feel sorry for the residents around there but this is for the greater good and shopkeepers will be delighted.

“It was suggested to highways officials that their current plan was not working. It was unfortunate for them that they messed it up originally because they were put in the position where they had to do something about it.

“Having the town gridlocked for two weeks would have been devastating. We can well ask the question though, why wasn't this thought through beforehand?”