Parts of Norwich's ring road to close during months of roadworks

The city morning rush hour traffic on Colman Road, the A140 ring road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The city morning rush hour traffic on Colman Road, the A140 ring road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Months of work will begin on Norwich’s ring road and nearby streets next week, as part of a controversial GBP650,000 scheme to cut congestion.

ShareParents protested over proposals to change the pedestrian crossing on Colman Road in Norwich.
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pPhoto: Neil DidsburyParents protested over proposals to change the pedestrian crossing on Colman Road in Norwich. Photo: Neil Didsbury

The work, in the Colman Road area, will see overnight closures of the ring road, some streets running off it shut and speed limits temporarily cut. Changes to traffic lights timings, alterations to crossings, new pedestrian refuges and parking restrictions will be introduced on a stretch of the ring road, which Transport for Norwich officers say will help keep traffic moving and reduce pollution.

City and county councillors agreed changes, to the outer ring road between South Park Avenue and the A11 Newmarket Road, in March. The work is due to start next Thursday , with a string of closures. South Park Avenue will shut to traffic heading towards the ring road between the junctions of Colman Road and Caroline Court from Thursday until March 17, while sections of Highland Road, Muriel Road, Mornington Road and Waldeck Road will close between the same dates.

Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer.
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pPic: Dan Grimmer.Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Colman Road will shut from its junctions with Unthank Road and North Park Avenue from 7pm until 6am each night from Monday, February 24 to Friday, March 6. During the same dates and times, Unthank Road will shut at the Colman Road junction, while Mile End Road will close from Newmarket Road to Colman Road.

There will be further closures later. Colman Road will shut from Unthank Road to North Park Avenue between 7pm and 6am each night from Monday, March 30 until Friday, April 10. During the same dates and times, South Park Avenue will be shut at the Colman Road junction.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton.
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pPic: Liberal Democrats.Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Unthank Road will close at the Colman Road junction from Saturday, February 22 until the next day. Diversions will be in place and there will be speed limit cuts to 20mph.

It will also mean disruption for First’s 25 buses, which run between the city centre and the university.

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A Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said: “When complete these changes are designed to help cut congestion on this very busy section of the ring road, particularly at peak times. “Studies of the local network have informed the plans which were consulted on at the beginning of 2019. “We are grateful for people’s patience while this improvement work is under way.”

However, the changes have attracted controversy. Three schools – Colman Junior, Colman Infant and the specialist Clare School – are nearby and parents, who staged protests earlier this year, feared the changes to pedestrian crossings would put children in danger. Andrew Tullett, governor at Colman Junior School, said there could be “unforeseen consequences” from the plans.

He warned: “The council say the refuges [central crossing islands] they are putting in place are standard size crossings but this is not a normal crossing – it is the busiest crossing in front of a school in the whole of the county.” And Adi Pope, school crossing patrol officer at Colman Infant School and Colman Junior School, had said it would make it more difficult for him to ensure youngsters got across safely. Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton, said, when the plan was approved, that he could not support the scheme.

He had warned it could make matters worse. He said: “If you are not careful, it could exacerbate the problem. It could increase capacity and not have the desired effect of dealing with the congestion at Daniels Road roundabout.”

And Ian Stutely, Labour city councillor for the Town Close ward, who originally backed the scheme, withdrew his support in September.

He warned a second road crossing patrol officer would be needed because of the changes.

He said: “If the scheme goes ahead without the provision of a new school crossing control there will be significant risk of serious collisions involving children.”

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