Norwich drivers to face five months more disruption when key city road shuts

Tombland junction with Palace Street. Photo: Bill Smith

Tombland junction with Palace Street. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Drivers should brace themselves for up to five months of disruption when work starts on an £800,000 traffic shake-up in Norwich city centre.

Major changes to Tombland and Palace Street, near Norwich Cathedral, were agreed by city and county councillors last week, as part of the £5.7m Push the Pedalways scheme, which council bosses say will make travelling safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

And the city council has revealed that work is due to start in April and will take 20 weeks to complete, with drivers only just having endured months of disruption because of changes in Grapes Hill, St Stephens Street and Chapel Field North.

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.

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: 'Start of works is planned for April 20 for an anticipated 20 weeks. For the majority of the construction programme it is envisaged that Palace Street will be closed to through traffic.

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'The majority of the works within Tombland can be constructed under temporary traffic management, avoiding the need for a closure of that road.

'There is a need now for detailed programming with our contractor, Lafarge Tarmac, and Streetworks to plan the phasing of the construction.'

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The roundabout outside the Maids Head Hotel will be replaced with a junction onto Palace Street.

A two-way cycle track will be created on the eastern side of Tombland and the southern side of Palace Street.

Some footpaths will be widened and the island in front of Erpingham Gate removed.

The Norwich School, which was worried about the safety of its pupils, had raised concerns about the pedestrian crossing opposite the Edith Cavell statue being removed and replaced with a toucan crossing further down Tombland.

The concerns led to council officers tweaking the proposals. They instead came up with a traffic light control at the junction of Princes Street and Tombland, with a pedestrian crossing on Tombland immediately to the north of it.

Norwich's Highways Agency Committee unanimously approved the scheme last Thursday.

Mike Stonard, city councillor and vice-chairman of the committee, said at that meeting: 'I am feeling extremely comfortable that we have reached a satisfactory proposal which balances the various competing needs.'

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

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