Councillors approve £1.6m scheme to enlarge Norwich’s Sweet Briar roundabout
- Credit: Ian Burt
A £1.6m scheme to replace a roundabout on Norwich's ring road has been given the go-ahead by councillors.
The Sweet Briar Road/Dereham Road roundabout is used by about 40,000 vehicles a day and is often clogged up with traffic at rush hour.
And council bosses said the upgrades would ease congestion and pave the way for better bus services.
But, the work, which would start in September and continue until April next year, would cause disruption at a key junction in the city, although officers said they will try to minimise the disruption.
Members of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee - made up of city and county councillors - unanimously voted to approve the scheme this morning, which was described as a 'crucial kernel' in the wider development of the city's road network.
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At the meeting concerns were raised over the lack of a pedestrian crossing inside the ring road towards the Dereham Road/Waterworks Road junction.
Richard Holmes, chair of Wensum Residents Association, told the committee: 'The situation for vulnerable pedestrians will not improve but the flow of motorised traffic will.
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And City Councillor Sandra Bogelein, who represents Wensum ward but does not sit on the committee, added: 'I find it difficult to understand why a Dereham Road east pedestrian crossing is less desirable than the one planned on Dereham Road west. From the figures presented by officers in meetings where we discussed the improvements the number of pedestrians and cyclists crossing is higher on the Dereham Road east arm than on the Dereham Road west arm.'
Tony Adams, chair of the committee, said: 'Any further crossings east of the unction need to be assessed outside of the project to ensure maximum benefit.'
The approved changes will see the current roundabout replaced by a larger one and new pedestrian crossings installed. New 30mph speed limits would be introduced in parts of Sweet Briar Road and Guardian Road.
During the public consultation, 65 people had their say on the scheme, of which about a third, including Norfolk police, supported the improvement.
But there were a string of concerns raised. Almost a third of comments were concerns that, during and after the work, more traffic will use Hotblack Road and Waterworks Road.
Council officers said during construction, the main work to enlarge the roundabout would be from the allotment sides of the junction. They said that should minimise disruption and once the road has been widened, new areas of road will be used to manage traffic.
They said it is not anticipated that, once work is done, that there will be 'any displacement effect on to Waterworks Road or Hotblack Road'.
But, in order to provide more space, land from nearby Bellacre and Woodland allotments would be needed. Some allotment holders are likely to lose part or all of their plots, with the council promising to relocate them if necessary.
Approving the scheme as one of four voting members Labour councillor for Catton ward, Mike Stonard, said: 'I welcome this scheme, I think the roundabout and roads in question are subject to significant congestion.'
Mr Adams added: 'I'm totally in favour of this scheme, sometimes there are vehicles queuing from the Asda roundabout to the Sweet Briar roundabout.'