Drivers urged to help highways bosses cut disruption during Thickthorn work

Thickthorn Roundabout July 2020. Picture: Mike Page

Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Mike Page

Drivers who use one of Norfolk's busiest junctions have been invited to help cut the disruption they would face if a multi-million pound revamp gets the green light.

National Highways is seeking a 'development consent order' for major changes to the A47/A11 Thickthorn junction, on the edge of Norwich.

Planning inspector Matthew Shrigley has held a series of hearings over the proposals to help him decide whether to recommend to transport secretary Grant Shapps, who has the final say, whether the scheme should go ahead.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps. - Credit: PA

The plans include a new slip road off the A11 northbound, which would take motorists beneath both roads before rejoining traffic on the A47 heading towards Great Yarmouth - eliminating the need to use the roundabout.

The changes would also see a segregated left-hand turn added to those travelling eastbound on the A47, a new footbridge and a fourth lane on the southern part of the junction.

Plan showing Thickthorn Roundabout changes

The plans for the changes at Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

If Mr Shapps does say yes to the scheme, work would start next year.

In advance of the potential go-ahead, National Highways - the government agency with responsibility for major A-roads and motorways - is asking drivers to take part in a survey about how often and why they use Thickthorn.

Highways bosses say what people tell them will help them decide how to manage construction to keep disruption to a minimum.

Thickthorn Roundabout

Thickthorn Roundabout. - Credit: Highways England

Victoria Pardoe, National Highways project manager for Thickthorn, said: "Our improvement of the Thickthorn interchange will improve safety, ease congestion and reduce journey times by creating free-flowing link roads between the A47 and A11 to increase capacity.

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"Although our plans are largely supported, we know roadworks can be disruptive for those living and working nearby, so understanding how people use this junction will help us to plan our construction work to minimise that disruption.”

The survey can be completed at until Tuesday, May 10.

The planning inspector is due to make his recommendation to Mr Shapps by June 23.

Mr Shapps will also decide whether to allow dualling of the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham and from Easton to North Tuddenham, which have been subject to separate planning examinations.