Norwich drivers could face disruption for six months because of £1.6m ring road roundabout replacement
- Credit: Ian Burt
Drivers are facing almost six months of disruption because a roundabout on Norwich's ring road needs to be replaced - at a cost of £1.6m.
But council bosses say changes at the Sweet Briar Road/Dereham Road roundabout, used by about 40,000 vehicles a day, are needed to ease congestion and pave the way for better bus services.
However, it means drivers will have to endure more disruption, following months of city roadwork.
The work, if it goes ahead following the results of public consultation next month, would see the current roundabout replaced by a larger one and new pedestrian crossings installed.
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.
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If the project does go ahead, work could start in September 2017, with officers saying it would be completed within six months.
At this stage, the scale of disruption to drivers is not clear. Officers say there will be a need for traffic management but they will attempt to minimise disruption.
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Steve Morphew, Labour county councillor for Catton Grove, one of the councillors who yesterday voted to put the scheme out for consultation, said the improvements should be welcomed - but there would clearly be a price to pay.
He said: 'This is very welcome as anyone who uses that roundabout will know. But there is going to be an enormous amount of work done around this.
'If it's going to go on for long time, then we know that's going to be disruptive, so it would be very useful to know early on what can be done to mitigate for the effects on long-suffering road users in the city.'
One of the reasons the change is needed is to allow the creation of a bus rapid transit network - which would mean speedier, more reliable bus journeys from Dereham Road to the city centre.