Photo gallery: Norwich drivers warned to brace themselves for months of roadworks starting today

Roads closed at the Dereham Road / Old Palace Road / Heigham Road junction.Photo: Bill Smith

Roads closed at the Dereham Road / Old Palace Road / Heigham Road junction.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Drivers in Norwich have been warned to brace themselves for more than three months of disruption because of work to create a rapid bus route in the city.

Work on the next phase of the Dereham Road Bus Rapid Transit route is due to start today - and is likely to go on for up to 14 weeks.

Dereham Road has been selected as the first of six bus corridors through Norwich, where changes would be made to give buses increased priority.

Council bosses say that route is a key element in the Transport for Norwich plans, as set out in the Norwich Area Transport Strategy.

Transport chiefs say the creation of the route, bring major improvements for bus users - including more reliable services and faster journeys.

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Work was carried out last year at the Barn Road/Grapes Hill junction to pave the way for the route, but more work is due to start this morning.

That work, at the junction with Old Palace Road, is expected to take 14 weeks to complete. It will see new traffic lights to give greater priority to buses. an improved crossing for pedestrians, resurfacing, new kerbs and changes for cyclists.

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The work, which will cost £350,000, will see temporary traffic lights put in place, with lane narrowing on Dereham Road.

Old Palace Road will be closed at the junction for the first three weeks and Heigham Road will be closed at the junction for the duration of construction.

Council bosses said access to properties and businesses will be maintained as much as possible during construction, which will be carried out by the council's environment, transport and development department in partnership with May Gurney and Mott MacDonald.

The work will be followed by the construction of a south-bound bus lane up Grapes Hill. while further bus improvement projects are also proposed.

That includes an in-bound lane on Chapel Field North, and the closure of St Stephens Street and part of Surrey Street to general traffic.

When complete, the right turns from Dereham Road into Old Palace and Heigham Road will be retained after protests at proposals to close them off.

Families in nearby streets feared banning those right turns would lead to rat-running through their residential streets and planners rejigged the proposals.

- To see photos of the roadworks beginning, see the gallery at the top-right of this page.

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