‘Bus delays’ due to Tombland works, councillor warns
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
A county councillor is warning of significant traffic congestion in the city centre due to closures for a historic £2.5m revamp.
Residents in Norwich city centre have complained of delays and “operational problems” and fear the changes are due to increased pressure on routes into the city as a 14-week closure of Tombland got underway earlier this month.
Mancroft councillor Danny Douglas highlighted the issue to Norfolk County Council’s director of highways, Grahame Bygrave.
The Labour councillor said: “As you know bus companies deliver the largest amount of sustainable travel in the county by mileage.
“It is of concern that we seem to be having operational problems in the city centre. This may be due to the Tombland closure and Chapelfield roundabout pressure.”
And he added: “My journey to Chapelfield roundabout from Red Lion Street took fourteen minutes on Tuesday at about midday.”
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Mr Douglas asked the council how it modelled traffic delays and whether the impact on bus services was looked into.
The county council signed a Norwich bus charter in 2014, pledging to “do everything we can to make sure your bus is on time”.
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Mr Douglas said: “Specifically do we model the traffic delays in the planning for the road closures in terms of the commitment we make in the bus charter?
“You will appreciate I have a number of city centre residents asking about bus delays at the moment. I am asking them about making the southbound diversion off Magdalen Street permanent to aid social distancing.”
A county council spokesman said: “We continue to honour the bus charter and take punctuality of bus services very seriously.
“Whenever there are planned works or major schemes proposed, we involve major bus operators as we develop traffic management plans, so bus disruption can be minimised as much as possible.”
He added: “In regards to the Tombland works, First Bus were heavily involved in re-planning services, determining one-way traffic flow, and were instrumental in deciding where temporary stops should be located.
“A lot is done to encourage motorists to avoid the area while work is being carried out, but with any major scheme, if the same number of vehicles want to use the more limited road network, there will be delays that are outside the bus operators’ control. We are monitoring the situation closely and where possible taking action to minimise delays.”