Showdown expected over traffic jams

STEPHEN PULLINGER A showdown meeting is being set up with the Highways Agency to look for a solution to the crippling traffic congestion at Yarmouth's Gapton Hall roundabout.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A showdown meeting is being set up with the Highways Agency to look for a solution to the crippling traffic congestion at Yarmouth's Gapton Hall roundabout.

It will be attended by a special "roundabout taskforce", organised by the borough council because of concerns over the long-term impact congestion will have on the town's economy.

Fears have been voiced that constant traffic jams could prevent such key developments as the Cobholm marina scheme, and angry Bradwell residents have complained it can take an hour to make the short journey into the town centre.

The idea is that the taskforce, involving local authority mem-bers and officers and business-people, will explore options for improving the roundabout.

The Highways Agency, responsible for the A12 trunk road, has so far ruled out any major scheme such as a flyover, saying there is not enough money.

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Its engineers have been carrying out inspections but the only work planned later this year is new road markings to prevent vehicles stopping on the roundabout and clogging it up.

Barry Stone, the borough council's deputy leader, said: "These new road markings, while they will hopefully improve safety, are only cosmetic. It will not solve the problem and it is getting worse.

"Something has to be done and soon. We have sent out letters to seafront and town centre traders, stores on the neighbouring retail park, borough and county councillors and officers on the councils, asking for their views."

Mr Stone has backed plans for a steel girder flyover taking A12 traffic over the junction as "a sensible way forward".

"There are two such flyovers where this has worked, one of which is on the A127 at Gallows Corner near Romford," he said.

He said although the Highways Agency was strapped for cash, there might be other ways of funding it involving contributions from developers and the borough council.

The council is waiting for the Highways Agency to fix a date for the meeting at the town hall.