Work starts on £4.6m roundabout at Norfolk crash blackspot
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Work will begin today to build a new £4.6m roundabout at a Norfolk accident blackspot, with council leaders promising it will cut crashes and reduce delays.
Fifteen people have been hurt in crashes at the Hempnall crossroads on the A140 in the past five years, with one person seriously hurt.
Two thirds of the crashes in which people were injured happened when vehicles were joining the A140 from the side roads at the crossroads.
And council leaders are confident installing a roundabout at the site will cut the crashes, but also unlock economic growth in the area.
Alison Thomas, county councillor for Long Stratton, whose division includes the Hempnall crossroads, said: "The case for an improvement at this junction was clear, as the accident record sadly speaks for itself.
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"This vital roundabout will make this section of road safer and make it easier for drivers to access the A140 at this point without the need to detour for safety purposes.
"This will cut the daily delays that people have had to face, particularly on the B1527 to Hempnall."
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While preparatory work has been done, including diversions of electricity poles, water pipes and phone lines, the diggers have moved in and the main work on the new roundabout is starting today (Monday).
Norfolk County Council secured just over £3m from the Department for Transport towards the £4.6m cost of the road. The rest of the cash will come from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, developer funding, the county council and the community infrastructure levy - a tax on housebuilding.
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council and chair of the Greater Norwich Growth Board, said the roundabout was also needed to support planned housing and employment growth in Long Stratton - and the long-awaited bypass.
The work on the roundabout will take months to complete, with a 30mph limit and closures of some side roads.
But Martin Wilby, the council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said the aim was to keep disruption down.
He said: "By building the roundabout to the west of the existing crossroads, we can minimise the disruption."
How will the roundabout work affect my journey?
With the new roundabout being built to the west of the existing crossroads, and off the line of the A140, council bosses say it will allow disruption to be kept to a minimum.
However, there will be a 24 hour, seven days a week temporary 30mph speed limit on the A140 in the area from Monday, May 20 until November 1.
Hempnall Crossroads (A140 / B1527 / C497) will be closed from 8pm on Friday, August 30 to 6am on Monday, September 2, and from 8pm on Friday, September 6 to 6am on Monday, September 9.
The B1527 Hempnall Road will be closed at its junction with the A140 from August 30 to October 29, 24 hours a day. It will also be closed on May 21-22 (24 hours a day).
The C497 Bungay Road will be closed at its junction with A140 from Friday, May 17 until September 9 (24 hours a day).