Extra £8.4m boost will transform cycling in Norwich

Cycling in Norwich has been given another boost.

Cycling in Norwich has been given another boost. - Credit: PA

Millions more pounds is to be spent to improve 20 miles of cycle paths in and around Norwich, after the city won £8.4m of government funding to transform two more routes.

Cycle routes between Norwich International Airport and Lakenham and from Sprowston to Wymondham will be improved after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the city had been successful in its bid for Department for Transport cash.

Norwich City Council bosses had been given just a month to submit a bid for the Cycling Ambition Cities cash, but has been successful in securing the cash for the blue and yellow pedalways.

It will see more than 40 improvement schemes along the two routes, which both go through the centre of Norwich. The total price tag will be more than £15m, with the remaining cost of the schemes coming from Local Growth Fund money, developer contributions and from the owners of Norwich International Airport.

The projects include new cycle paths, 20mph zones, junction changes and pedestrian crossings.

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But other major changes would see: traffic banned from All Saints Green; traffic stopped from turning right in Westlegate; the redesign of roundabouts in Fifers Lane/Ives Road/Heyford Road and Woodcock Road/Catton Grove Road; and filling in the subway in St Crispins Road with a replacement toucan crossing on the surface of the road.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport at Norwich City Council said: 'Improving the pedalways is not just about building better space for cycling – it's about the wider benefits it will bring to the city.

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'Investment in creating high quality routes will link housing to centres of employment and help improve people's health by encouraging them to make cycling part of their day to day lives.'

Deputy prime minister Mr Clegg said: 'We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we're in the right gear to see it through. That's why I'm so pleased to announce this investment for Norwich to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.'

The council says initial construction work on the latest projects is expected to start before the end of the year.

Work has already started on £5.7m of improvements to the pink pedalway route – the eight-mile cycle route which stretches from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia to Heartsease and Broadland.

But some of those changes have been controversial. Public opinion caused a proposed road closure in Park Lane to be scrapped, while a decision over changes to Tombland was altered after concerns were raised.

The work on the Tombland project is due to start next month and will take 20 weeks to complete. Palace Street – a key route in and out of the city centre for many drivers – is likely to be closed for most of that time, although Tombland will stay open.

• What do you think of cycling in and around Norwich? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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