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Congestion-busting blueprint drawn up for town’s future transport needs

PUBLISHED: 15:25 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:25 05 February 2020

The new transport strategy for Diss aims to reduce congestion botttlenecks and encourage more walking and cycling. Picture: Simon Parkin

The new transport strategy for Diss aims to reduce congestion botttlenecks and encourage more walking and cycling. Picture: Simon Parkin

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Measures to ease congestion at the town’s busiest junctions, pedestrian crossings and a major expansion of cycle paths are included in a new transport strategy for Diss.

Morrisons roundabout in Diss that has been earmarked for major changes under new transport strategy for the town. Picture: Simon ParkinMorrisons roundabout in Diss that has been earmarked for major changes under new transport strategy for the town. Picture: Simon Parkin

Highways officers at Norfolk County Council have spent two years drawing up a wish list to curb congestion in the town over the next decade and beyond.

After consultation with other bodies, the Diss Network Improvement Strategy (DNIS) has shortlisted 21 different schemes to help address existing congestion bottlenecks and potential transport improvements to cope with future growth.

As part of the research traffic flow assessments were carried out on roads across the town, including on the A1066 Stanley Road, Shelfanger Road, Diss Road, Stuston Road, Crossing Road, Priory Road, as well as the A143 and A140.

Morrisons roundabout in Diss as it is today and one of the suggested major alterations with access direct from Mere Street. Pictures: Norfolk County CouncilMorrisons roundabout in Diss as it is today and one of the suggested major alterations with access direct from Mere Street. Pictures: Norfolk County Council

Key findings were that 17pc of traffic in Diss is passing through and that the Morrisons roundabout junction should be the focus of improvements on the A1066.

People could be encouraged to make more short trips on foot or by cycle with improved signage and small infrastructure improvements, it adds.

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A report to councillors says potential schemes have been divided into short-term options, which can be delivered by 2022, medium-term to be delivered between 2023 and 2030 and long-term options for beyond 2030.

Short-term options include widening and traffic signals at Frenze Hall Lane; a crossing on Vince's Road to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists travelling to the railway station; and extending the existing shared-use cycleway that currently ends outside Diss Leisure Centre towards the town centre, to connect with the pedestrian crossing opposite Diss Methodist Church.

Medium-term works focus on measures to increase the capacity of the Morrisons roundabout, identified as the town's "most constrained junction".

Options range from introducing a restricted yellow box to stop blocking of traffic leaving Morrisons with limited benefits, to a major widening the current roundabout with direct access for traffic from Mere Street, seen as most beneficial but likely to cost £1.5m.

Other medium-term measures include a new cycle and pedestrian network on Walcot Green and the extension of the shared-use cycleway past Prince William Way to the junction of Frenze Hall Lane and Walcot.

Long term options include increasing the capacity of the Sawmills Road/A1066 junction, creating two lanes, allowing the separation of eastbound and westbound vehicles.

Looking beyond 2036 the report says large scale growth either north or south of Diss, even if it were to provide new link roads, would worsen traffic conditions within the town.

Norfolk County Council has funding committed for schemes that can be delivered within the next two years, but says it will need to "work collaboratively with local partners" to deliver medium and longer-term projects.

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