How A47 roadworks are affecting 999 services and businesses
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Key services have spoken about the detrimental impact of A47 roadworks with significant delays being caused.
Lane closures from ongoing works have been adding travel times in both directions between Thickthorn and Trowse with bus companies, blue lights services and haulage among those affected.
Micky Amey, director of Norwich-based Completely Coach Travel, described the disruption as "challenging" for his business but said he understands why the works need to be done.
The company, which runs three to five buses a day, has had to divert via the A140 as it has been unable to access the A47, with delays of 30 to 40 minutes at worst.
Mr Amey said: "How are you supposed to run a travel company if you just do not know if you can run on time?
"Reputation is everything and if you become known as untrustworthy it leaves your business in a challenging situation.
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"We are in a prime location ordinarily by the Cattle Market but it has been gridlocked from the south side of the city.
"But at the end of the day they are doing it for a reason and it is difficult to complain about the works. You can't have it both ways."
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First Bus have also experienced delays.
Paul Martin commercial manager at First Eastern Counties, said: "We have experienced some delays mainly during peak times, which is inevitable with other traffic trying to avoid the works, causing a build-up of congestion at busy junctions and corridors on and adjacent to the A47.
"It can be frustrating and an inconvenience for everyone who uses our services close to the area, and we will continue to monitor and minimise the impact of the works on our customers.”
Emergency services such as police officers have been unable to respond as quickly to some incidents in the area with officers being redeployed in some circumstances.
And a spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Ambulance vehicles, like any other vehicle, get caught up in bad traffic as a result of road works, and this can have an impact on our operations.
"However, we are given notice of when any roadworks will be taking place, and this helps us plan accordingly.”
Highways England committed £300m to improve the A47 with work beginning in 2020.
The works have included improving the A47/A11 Thickthorn junction, dualling the A47 North Tuddenham to Easton and the A47 Blofield to North Burlingham.
County councillor Ben Price, whose division is Thorpe Hamlet, said the reliance on cars in Norfolk will continue to cause problems and delays for emergency services.
Mr Price said: "Across the county, the local transport plan is not really addressing car use. The council is speeding ahead with the Western Link and A47 project and more roads will create more traffic.
"Until the county council really addresses air quality and carbon cases of single car users, and invests in public transport, these kind of problems will continue to impact emergency vehicles."
The Green Party councillor said more needs to be done to tackle the "car-centric" nature of the county.
Mr Price added: "There is a lack of foresight and imagination to grasp the reality of the situation we are in.
"It is a case of yesterday's solutions to today's problems."
The county council's local transport plan covers the period 2020-2036 and must be accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal which assesses the environmental, social and economic impacts.
County councillor Vic Thomson, who represents the Henstead division, said: "The works to improve the infrastructure network on the A47 are welcomed in order to achieve the broader aims of boosting the economy and enabling people to travel to their destinations across Norfolk.
"However, this is a Highways England scheme and we will work as closely with them as possible to ensure that this scheme is delivered for Norfolk.
"With any major highways scheme there are always some delays caused, but having this close and professional relationship will ensure that this is minimised."