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Five of the best reader letters about the NDR from 2018

Cameras trained on Broadland Northway roundabouts at Wroxham Road. Picture: David Hannant

Cameras trained on Broadland Northway roundabouts at Wroxham Road. Picture: David Hannant

Archant

The Northern Distribution Road, officially known as Broadland Northway, was completed in March this year. The road's safety and practicality has been the subject of much debate for our readers - both while it was being worked on and after it was finished. Here are some of your best reader letters on the topic.

•“The Public will pay for the NDR” – I Smith, Felmingham

I have noticed several letters appearing over the last week or so in the comments section of the EDP from different people referring to biased public consultations carried out by Broadland District Council.

The writers were justifiably disgruntled with the NDR consultation and now again with another consultation on the suggested link over the Wensum valley.

The public are misled by these consultations when they are invited to have their say thinking that they will actually be listened to.

Stop Norwich Urbanization (SNUB) campaigned for several years with a very large local public support opposing the NDR and the massive developments planned along its route.

Questions asked in all of these consultations seem designed to avoid any opposing or alternative views.

Yes the public have their say in that they can answer the question that is asked but they are not given the opportunity to say that they oppose the plan altogether.

Norfolk County Council has spent nearly £200 million on the NDR whilst having to make savings of over £100 million by cutting back on vital services.

Now they are thinking of plunging Norfolk into more unaffordable debt with another ‘scheme’ to cross the Wensum valley that is likely to cost at least another £100 million.

If spending like this continues then it will be us, the local people, who will pay by suffering a massive rate rise to pay for these unaffordable and expensive dreams of our elected councillors.

• “NDR roundabouts are a menace” – Mark Hughes, Lower Street, Horning Norwich

Some of the roundabouts, especially the roundabout with turn-offs to Sprowston and Wroxham are a serious accident waiting to happen.

Usually on larger roundabouts, the lanes flow, so for example if you want to turn right off a roundabout, as you go past turn-offs, the lane natural leads you from outside to inside and ultimately to your turn-off.

Not this roundabout, the lanes are just circles around the centre of the roundabout.

In the same scenario you end up crossing the middle lane and near side lane having to avoid vehicles as they pull out from either Sprowston or from the Northern Bypass.

I have witnessed near misses every time I use the roundabout which is almost daily. I have written to the council but unless something is done quickly I fear there will be a serious collision and possible serious injuries.

I am hoping the more the issue is raised we could get something done and avoid waiting for this to happen before someone then acts.

• “Cynical manipulation over NDR” – Godfrey Sayers, The Street, Wiveton

Peter Franzen’s suggestions (August 11) as to how democracy might be manipulated to accommodate a second a referendum, show that he is one who knows how democracy can be bent to artful hands.

The NCC knew when they first proposed the NDR that they would never get the support they needed to drive it through the Wensum Valley.

But they built it anyway, leaving a road to nowhere with a bottleneck at the end. Then they asked the public if they want it completed, knowing full well that they would get overwhelming public support to ease the congestion that they had deliberately created.

Cynical manipulation it most certainly is, but so much a part of how politicians and developers operate these days that it is deemed acceptable. Those in governance know that while you cannot fool all of the people all of the time, you can fool some of the people some of the time, and sometimes that’s all you need to do to get what you want.

I suspect that if our government’s plan to convince us we are leaving the EU while actually staying in fails, then Peter will get his way and there will be a second referendum.

• “Why the NDR does not need fixing” – Neil Collins, Great Moulton

I’m sure, like many of your readers, I’ve not been able to understand how County Highways can claim the NDR roundabouts are designed correctly and yet driving round them they seem quite dangerous.

Particularly the use of concentric lanes tends to encourage cars to stay in the inside lane to go straight across when other traffic will assume they’re turning left. This seems to be backed up by dashcam footage and anecdotal reports.

Having checked the government’s guidance on the matter, I found this important paragraph about using concentric lanes on roundabouts:

“4.12 Concentric markings which divide the carriageway into more than two lanes have limited use on wide circulatory carriageways since they have been found to encourage the “tramline” effect. In this case, a driver may remain in a particular lane until reaching the desired exit, and then deviate across other circulating movements in order to leave the roundabout.

This behaviour can increase the potential for side-to-side vehicular conflict on the circulatory carriageway.”

Yes – that’s what’s happening on the NDR, and it’s a well understood consequence of this type of marking. Sorry Norfolk County Council – your highways teams have just got this wrong and it needs fixing.

• “NDR junction layout is unsafe” – Barry Bacon, Bluebell Road, North Walsham

In reference to Dan Grimmer’s article on the council assessment of the accidents occurring on the Broadland Northway, I just feel directing blame to poor driving and speed as to the main cause of these accidents (road traffic collision) and near misses is pushing the blame away from the real issue of poor lighting, lack of appropriate signage at a correct distance from the roundabouts and crucially and the major factor the layout of the roundabouts.

Having three lanes marked out on these roundabouts causes those turning to the right insufficient chance to cross back into the required lane to exit the roundabout at their desired junction due to others entering the roundabout and wanting exits after to block the exit but by having two lanes this eliminates this as they cannot enter the roundabout until exiting vehicle has passed their exit.

There are much fewer incidents on the A11 prior to Mildenhall as most of these are two lane giving wider lanes and safer entry and exit.

Although I am not a professional driver I drive regularly around the country both by van and car and also ride a motorcycle around the country. But junction layout on the NDR I find unsafe.

Do you agree with our readers? Let us know in the comments below or write to us at edpletters@archant.co.uk

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