Action aims to prevent a repeat of Norwich city centre traffic jams

Motorists have been warned of disruption ahead. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Motorists have been warned of disruption ahead. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Transport bosses are taking action to prevent a repeat of the traffic problems which clogged up the centre of Norwich last night.

Frustrated drivers found themselves caught up in rush-hour jams in the centre of Norwich, partly due to roadworks required because a traffic island - part of a multi-million shake-up to city streets - had been installed in the wrong place.

The downhill lane of Cattle Market Street was shut because the traffic island is being moved further down the road. Yesterday was the first day of a closure due to last until Sunday, October 30.

And the closure contributed to long queues around the city, with build-ups in Ber Street, Cattle Market Street, Golden Ball Street, All Saints Green, Queens Road and Rouen Road/King Street – the diversion route for vehicles unable to get down Cattle Market Street – where there were temporary traffic lights in place.

The situation was not helped by a crash involving two cars in Queens Road, close to the Sainsbury's petrol station.

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To head off any problems tonight, traffic lights on the junction of King Street/Carrow Road have been switched off.

Council officers hope that, along with the fact that drivers will now be more aware of the Cattle Market Street closure, will help traffic flow.

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They say the junction is being monitored and the lights will only be turned on if necessary. Other traffic lights on the King Street/Bracondale junction were part of recent BT work, not the Transport for Norwich project.

And, with Norwich City at home to Preston on Saturday, the decision has been taken to suspend the Cattle Market Street lane closure from tomorrow afternoon.

The council says it plans to do that at around 4pm, ahead of the evening peak. They say the road will remain open for the whole of Saturday, with work resuming on Sunday.

Contingency in terms of the timeframe had been worked into the project, so the work should be completed by Sunday, October 30.

A spokesperson for Transport for Norwich said: 'A combination of the existing planned works, emergency works and the accident in Queens Road put the city's roads under significant pressure.

'The lane closure on Cattle Market Street played a part in this so we have reviewed the construction programme to allow for a break in work and will open the road ahead of what could be a particularly busy day on Saturday.

'We have also turned off the temporary lights at the King Street/Carrow Road junction and will monitor traffic levels in the area. The lights will only be turned back on to provide additional control if needed.

'We understand the frustrations experienced by road users on these occasions.

'At a time when we are carrying out significant changes to the city's road, unforeseen events can tip the balance in terms of congestion levels. With this in mind we will continue to look at ways of reducing the impact of disruption on the road network.'

As reported, the traffic island in Cattle Market Street needs to be moved eight metres down the road because of a 'design oversight'.

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