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Weekend road closures ahead amid five months of £1.6m safety work on Norwich's Earlham road

Five months of roadworks are to start in Earlham Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Five months of roadworks are to start in Earlham Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Archant

Five months of work to make one of Norwich's busiest roads safer will start next week - with four weekends when the road will be closed.

The £1.6m project for Earlham Road will see new cycle lanes on both sides of the road, a 20mph limit, new zebra crossings and junction improvements.

Over five years, there were 38 accidents between the junction with Heigham Road and the outer ring road roundabout, near Earlham Police Station. Eighteen involved cyclists.

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of cyclists using the road has doubled and council bosses want to make the green pedalway, from Bowthorpe to Broadland Business Park, safer.

But the work, which will start on Tuesday, June 25, will mean disruption and diversions.

Norwich city councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.Norwich city councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.

There will be two-way traffic lights in Earlham Road, with work beginning at the junction with Christchurch Road and moving towards Heigham Road, as changes to side road junctions - where pedestrians will be given priority - are done.

It will also involve rolling closures of side roads meeting Earlham Road, although access will be maintained via diversions.

And there will be four weekends when Earlham Road will not be passable, because sections of it will be fully closed:

- From 7am on Saturday, July 13 to 7pm on Sunday, July 14: Christchurch Road junction

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- From 7am on Saturday, August 3 to 7pm on Sunday, August 4: Earlham Crematorium

- From 7am on Saturday, August 10 to 7pm on Sunday, August 11: Wellington Road junction

- From 7am on Friday, October 18 to 7pm on Sunday, October 20: Mill Hill Road/Heigham Road/West Pottergate junction

First and Konectbus routes will be affected.

More than £1m is from the Department for Transport's Cycle City Ambition grant and £560,000 from local developer contributions.

The work comes after £765,000 of improvements to Earlham Fiveways roundabout.

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member with responsibility for the Transport for Norwich partnership, said: "This work marks the next phase of our project to improve road safety for cyclists in the Earlham Road area.

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Our research showed that this section of the green pedalway had the highest level of accidents over a five-year study period and, using the funding awarded from the DfT, we are building a project that addresses this through a series of changes between the outer ring road roundabout and the junction with Heigham Road.

"Since 2013, the numbers of cyclists passing through the area has more than doubled and this, combined with growth in housing numbers, means it's important we create the safest routes possible to connect the areas where people live with sites of employment and education, and the city centre.

"We would like to thank everyone for their patience while we complete both of the safety improvement schemes in Earlham Road. This has been programmed so most of the work will be over the school and university summer holidays to help reduce the impact."

What work will be done?

- Installing cycle lanes on both sides of Earlham Road between the outer ring road roundabout and Christchurch Road junction.

- Creating a new raised table at the junction with Christchurch Road with a zebra crossing.

- Providing a new zebra crossing on a raised table near the junction with Wellington Road.

- Introducing pedestrian priority across the side roads.

- Introducing a 20mph speed restriction on this section of Earlham Road and in the side streets to the north (Heigham Road side).

- Making the Heigham Road junction with Earlham Road easier for cyclists to negotiate by removing the central filter lanes, narrowing the carriageway, closing West Pottergate to motorised traffic and installing a pedestrian/cycle crossing over Earlham Road.

What accidents have happened?

In the five years ending September 2017 there were 38 accidents in the Earlham Road project area, eighteen of which involved cyclists.

The issues which a council feasibility study highlighted as needing to be addressed were:

- Accidents involving vehicles at the A140 outer ring road / B1108 Earlham Road roundabout - 17 accidents, seven involving cyclists and one involving a pedestrian.

- Motor vehicles emerging from side roads along the link between Christchurch Road and Heigham Road - 21 accidents, 11 involving cyclists and three involving pedestrians.

Although it was outside the five year study period there was a fatal accident in 2010, when a cyclist was hit by a car emerging from a side road.

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