Cycle path work to close village road for several weeks

Resident Jacky Sutton and Head of Hethersett Junior School, Matthew Parslow-Williams, at the school

Resident Jacky Sutton and Head of Hethersett Junior School, Matthew Parslow-Williams, at the school entrance, where they are worried about the children's safety when New Road is closed and traffic will be increased on the road outside the school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A village road on the outskirts of Norwich will be closed for almost two months for the creation of a new cycle path.

New Road in Hethersett is inaccesible to traffic from today.

The work to build a cycle path between the village and Wymondham is due to last until Friday, May 25.

During the roadworks, traffic will be diverted to other roads in Hethersett, in particular Queens Road.

Concerns have been raised by the headteacher of Hethersett VS Junior School and the chairman of Hethersett Parish Council that the additional traffic will put children of the school on Queens Road in danger.

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Matthew Parslow-Williams, headteacher, said: 'The school only has one entrance so all of our pupils arrive and leave down that road.

'The amount of traffic has already increased with other roadworks in the area at the moment, so this will only exacerbate things.

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'In congested traffic, some motorists do take more risks and it only takes one person not paying full attention for children's lives to be put in danger.'

Jacky Sutton, chairman of Hethersett Parish Council, said she envisages 'utter traffic chaos' as a result of the road's closure.

She said: 'I understand the reason for the closure is to limit delays on the B1172 for people travelling to Wymondham. However, this doesn't help the people of Hethersett. My concern is the safety of pedestrians, particularly schoolchildren.

'The village was not designed to cope with this much traffic.'

A spokesman for Transport for Norwich said: 'The decision to close New Road during this phase of work is to maintain two-way traffic along the main road between Wymondham and Norwich. Using temporary traffic signals at the junction would result in significant congestion and delays for all traffic, particularly at peak times.

'Unfortunately it's not possible to carry out the work without any disruption but we have planned the traffic management to minimise the impact as far as possible.

'The first two weeks of the closure have been timed to coincide with the Easter holidays when the schools are closed. We are also diverting traffic onto an equivalent classification of road, which is consistent with the approach taken with this type of scheme.'

Temporary bus changes

The New Road closure will also have an impact on buses serving the village, with services diverted and of limited availability.

The regular buses serving Hethersett will take diverted routes around the village - the 14 will call at Mill Road and turn at West Croft, while none of the 15 and 13 services will travel along Mill Road.

Norfolk County Council has organised shuttle buses between Mill Road and the village hall bus stop on Back Lane, but these will only be provided between 7am and 9am and 5pm until 7pm - and only on weekdays.

A Transport for Norwich spokesman said: 'Colleagues in the county council's travel and transport team have been working with bus operators to put in place temporary service arrangements during the closure of New Road.

'The addition of the shuttle bus is to serve the part of the route not covered by the diversion during peak hours.'

Visit the EDP live traffic map for information on travel in the region.

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