Watch: Drivers caught out by Rouen Road closure in Norwich
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
City drivers have been urged to brace themselves for weeks of disruption as work on a further £3m traffic shake-up starts today - but council leaders have said the end result will justify the short-term pain.
A section of Rouen Road will be closed for 12 weeks from today as part of the work. Councillors have got their apologies in early, while pleading with drivers to be patience.
Many drivers were caught out by the roadworks this morning which shut Rouen Road at the junction with Golden Ball Street.
Over the next three months, drivers will also see lanes closed on Golden Ball Street as work gets underway to make Golden Ball Street two-way.
That will pave the way for further work later this year and early next year to remove general traffic from Westlegate, All Saints Green and Red Lion Street.
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Steve Morphew, chairman of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee, said: 'This scheme will make life easier for drivers heading for car parks, but we're conscious there will be short term inconvenience for people travelling in the Golden Ball Street and Rouen Road area while the work is being done.
'I apologise for that and ask people to be patient. Please plan your journeys allowing extra time while the work is underway as everyone is having to adjust.
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'The result will be simpler faster routes and attractive traffic free spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. It will help support our businesses and those who we want to visit and enjoy Norwich. I am very much looking forward to the scheme being completed.'
The council says the scheme will:
• Give motorists easier access to car parks, including John Lewis, both Castle Mall car parks and the multi-storey under construction off Rose Lane
• Restore All Saints Green as an attractive traffic-free open space.
• Improve pedestrian and cycle connection with the rest of the city centre by removing traffic from Westlegate
• Simplify north-south vehicle access by making Golden Ball Street two-way
However, the project has attracted criticism. Last year, Peter Mitchell, chairman of the city's Business Improvement District and managing director of Jarrold, expressed concerns about 'a lack of congestion figures' during a meeting which approved plans for the ban on traffic in parts of the city centre.
He added: 'I remain really concerned that the ring road does not have the capacity to deal with the traffic at the moment. It's premature and reckless.'