Work to start next week on Dereham Road bus scheme in Norwich
Work on phase one of a scheme to encourage higher quality, faster and more reliable bus services in Norwich is due to begin next week.
As previously reported in the Evening News, Dereham Road has been selected for the first part of a �1.5m rapid bus transit scheme for the city, including a new 24-hour bus lane.
Now Norfolk County Council has announced work will begin on Dereham Road on Monday – but the council has said no work is currently proposed at the junction of Dereham Road with Heigham Road and Old Palace Road because proposals for this area are still being discussed.
During peak periods, about 20 buses an hour pass through Dereham Road, which links areas such as Costessey and Bowthorpe to the city centre.
A council spokesman said: 'The works have been programmed to minimise the impact on Christmas shopping traffic, and traffic management measures will be lifted from mid-November.
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'Non-disruptive work will continue until before Christmas. Work will resume in January, when further traffic management measures will be necessary.'
The spokesman added: 'No work is proposed at the Dereham Road/Old Palace Road/Heigham Road junction at this stage, as options for this junction are still being developed.'
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The planned work before Christmas includes:
• Widening of Grapes Hill at the junction with St Benedict's Street, incorporating the permanent westbound closure of St Benedict's Street to traffic.
• Streetscape and landscaping works, including enhancing the site of the old toilet block at the western end of St Benedict's Street.
• Narrowing the Dereham Road junctions with Golding Place and Charles Square, including construction of tactile paved crossings at both junctions, along with Valentine Street.
Work planned after Christmas includes:
• New traffic light arrangements at the bottom of Grapes Hill.
• Resurfacing work at the bottom of Grapes Hill and on Dereham Road.
• Creation of new sections of a 24-hour city-bound bus lane on Dereham Road, notably between Orchard Street and Barn Road.
• Installation of new bus lane signs.
• Installation of cycle route signage in Costessey, work on the southern footway opposite the petrol station and the cycle path on Boatman Way.
• Tree planting east of the Bowthorpe roundabout.
The Dereham Road Bus Rapid Transit route is one of six bus corridors the city and county councils want to introduce in Norwich. They say these would encourage operators to provide higher quality, faster, and more reliable bus services.
In March the bulk of the plan for Dereham Road was approved, but families living nearby were unhappy that the scheme included a ban on right turns into Old Palace Road from Dereham Road heading out of the city or into Heigham Road for cars heading into the city. The families feared this would increase rat running on their streets.
Following a meeting of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee last month, two options are now being considered for the junction and the committee agreed the best way forward would involve a drop-in session for people to put forward their views, a workshop with councillors and some members of the public, consultation, and finally bringing the issue back to the committee.
As reported earlier this week, families living nearby have called for assurances their views will not be ignored when decisions are made. In response Bert Bremner, a city councillor and a member of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee, assured families that consultation would happen.
• What do you think about the rapid bus route plans? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email email@example.com