Norwich drivers will face a summer of disruption as new roadworks start

The Tombland junction with Palace Street, where roadworks will start next month. Photo: Bill Smith

The Tombland junction with Palace Street, where roadworks will start next month. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Drivers in Norwich are set for a summer of disruption, when work starts next month on two sections of a multi-million pound scheme to make travelling safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Radical changes to Tombland and Palace Street, in the city centre, and at The Avenues, in Earlham, form key parts of Norwich City Council's £5.7m Push The Pedalways scheme.

The city council says that scheme will see improvements made to an eight mile cycling route from Heartsease to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

But the work will mean pain for drivers, with a warning that each scheme will take an estimated 20 weeks to complete, with major disruption for motorists.

The work in the city centre had been due to start on April 20, but has now been pushed back until May 18. The council warned that there will be some road closures and some narrowing of roads.

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Palace Street – a key route in and out of the city centre for many drivers – is likely to be closed for most of the time, although Tombland will stay open, with traffic management in place.

The work will see roundabout outside the Maids Head Hotel replaced with a junction onto Palace Street, while a two-way cycle track will be created on the eastern side of Tombland and the southern side of Palace Street.

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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.

The other major plank of the pedalways scheme which will start next month is in the area around The Avenues.

Officers had considered closing part of The Avenues, but that was dropped after public consultation.

But the scheme will see new speed cushions in The Avenues and Bluebell Road, a cycle track on both sides of The Avenues between Colman Road and Bluebell Road, changes to prevent cars parking on grass verges and an altered junction where The Avenues meets Colman Road.

Dozens more roads, including North Park Avenue, George Borrow Road, Lovelace Road, Elizabeth Fry Road, Northfields, De Hague Road and Henderson Road are to get 20mph speed limits.

That work, which will also take 20 weeks, had been due to start in April, but will now start on May 11.

The council said some road closures would be needed, along with some narrowing of sections of road.

Drivers already endured weeks of disruption in January during work on Chapel Field Road and Vauxhall Street when changes were made there as part of the scheme.

But council leaders have said Push The Pedalways, awarded £3.7m by the Department of Health, will bring health, environmental and economic benefits.

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

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