Thickthorn revamp backed as 'important to Norfolk's economy'

A11 northbound traffic queue up to the Thickthorn roundabout as the traffic lights let only a few ca

Norfolk County Council is supporting the Thickthorn roundabout revamp. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Plans for a major revamp of one of Norfolk's busiest junctions are to be backed by the county council, with leaders saying it is of crucial importance.

Proposals for changes at Thickthorn Interchange, where the A47 and A11 meet on the edge of Norwich, were lodged by Highways England at the end of March.

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

The Thickthorn roundabout on the edge of Norwich. Pic: Highways England.

The Thickthorn roundabout on the edge of Norwich. Pic: Highways England. - Credit: Highways England

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.

Plans showing how a major revamp of the Thickthorn Interchange could look

Plans for a major revamp of the Thickthorn Interchange have been lodged - Credit: Highways England

The Planning Inspectorate will consider whether to award permission and, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's planning and highways delegations committee, councillors agreed the council would back the scheme.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Graham Plant, deputy leader of the council, said: "It will take out an awful lot of traffic on that existing roundabout.

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"It is really important for Norfolk's economy that this is done. It's one of those things that really clogs up the system as it is at the moment."

But Green councillor Paul Neale tried to persuade his colleagues to vote against supporting "this spaghetti junction", which he said was "highly damaging" to the local environment.

He said: "It seems to me that the committee members have missed the elephant in the room and only addressed the 'car county' issue."

Green city councillor Paul Neale. Picture: Norwich City Council

Green county councillor Paul Neale. - Credit: Norwich City Council

The council's response will ask Highways England not to classify a new link from Cantley Lane South to the B1172, via a bridge over the A11, as a B-road.

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The county council would be handed responsibility for the upkeep of that road and officers fear making it a B-road would encourage more traffic to use it, so want it as a C or unclassified road.

The committee also agreed a supportive response to the Sheringham and Dudgeon Windfarm extension consultation and to Highways England's plans to dual the A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton.

However, on the latter, it was agreed the council would express its concerns over how the scheme would dovetail with the NDR Western Link and the food hub at Easton.

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