Norwich gets £1.7m cycling safety boost for roundabout improvements
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Cycling in Norwich has been handed a £1.7m safety boost after the city was named as one of six places to share a multi-million pound pot of cash.
The money, from the Department for Transport Cycle Ambitions City fund, is likely to be used to make improvements to Earlham Road and the Fiveways roundabout, pending the results of public consultation.
Just over £1m has been allocated to make improvements to the green pedalway, which stretches from Bowthorpe to Broadland Business Park.
It would go towards a £1.6m scheme which would see a number of changes to Earlham Road, including new cycle lanes, improved crossings, a 20mph speed limit on a section of the road and alterations made to the roundabout where the outer ring road meets the road.
The roundabout will be redesigned to make it safer for cyclists, particularly those going to and from Gypsy Lane.
A new cycle zebra crossing would be provided, while the existing pedestrian crossing will be upgraded to a toucan crossing.
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West Pottergate would be closed to traffic where it meets Heigham Road and Earlham Road.
In the five years up to September last year there were 38 crashes in the area covered by the scheme, of which 18 involved cyclists.
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Officers for Transport for Norwich, said: 'With 2,500 homes due to be built in the next few years needing to access the city centre along this section of the green pedalway, the numbers of cyclists are expected to increase considerably, which amplifies the need to redesign the highway to reduce their exposure to the risk of collisions.'
Consultation over that scheme will be held this summer, with a decision in September. Work would be done next year.
And the government also awarded £685,000 towards a £750,000 safety scheme further along the road, at Fiveways roundabout,
That scheme, which includes new shared pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, would see the central island of the roundabout made larger, narrowing the lanes around it in an attempt to slow traffic.
There would also be traffic calming measures added to Gypsy Lane, along with a 20mph limit.
In the past five years, there were 13 accidents at the Fiveways, nine involving cyclists. Two cyclists were seriously hurt.
Consultation on that project is also due to start in the coming months.
If it goes ahead, the work would be done next year.
It is not yet clear how long construction on the two projects would take or what, if any, roads would close during the work.
Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: 'We're delighted that the government has recognised and rewarded our efforts to make our streets more cycle friendly. We're especially pleased that Norwich was the only cycle city to get funding for two schemes and to be awarded the most.
'Making sure Norwich has the full range of transport options to meet the needs of all road users is absolutely key to keeping our city vibrant and thriving.
'Investing in cycling benefits us all – not just the cyclists among us as but also the drivers and pedestrians who share the road.'
John Fisher, Norfolk County Council's chair of Norwich highways agency committee, said: 'It's great news that the city council has once again secured significant funding to improve our pedalways network. Cycling in Norwich has gone from strength to strength in recent years and we will continue to work in partnership through Transport for Norwich to build on the excellent progress we've made since DfT funding began in 2013.'
Cycling minister Jesse Norman said: 'I want us to become a nation of cyclists, and to make cycling a natural choice for people of all ages and backgrounds.
'While Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, we want to encourage still more people to take up cycling.
'We are determined to make cycling safer and easier across the country. This funding, as part of our overall cycling and walking strategy, will help local councils to make their roads safer for everyone.'
The other Cycle Ambition Cities which were awarded grants were Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.