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Drivers warned to brace themselves for months of disruption as major roadworks get underway in Norwich city centre

Drivers have warned to brace themselves for disruption when Chapel Field North in Norwich is closed from Monday.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Drivers have warned to brace themselves for disruption when Chapel Field North in Norwich is closed from Monday. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Drivers have been warned to brace themselves for months of disruption in Norwich when work starts on a major shake-up to how traffic uses the city centre.

Work will start on Chapel Field North from Monday and is due to last for 12 to 14 weeks, with the street shut to vehicles and pedestrians.

The work will include carriageway widening to make the road two-way, the removal of the footway on the south side, the reconstruction and widening of the northern footway and resurfacing of the carriageway.

While the road will be shut, access will remain to properties along the road from Little Bethel Street or Theatre Street.

During the road closure, the exit from Little Bethel Street will be to Theatre Street rather than to the Grapes Hill roundabout. Pedestrians and cyclists will be redirected along the new path that has recently been constructed in Chapelfield Gardens.

Drivers will not be able to cross the city centre using Westlegate, Rampant Horse Street, Theatre Street and Chapel Field North (ie heading north-west from John Lewis, passing the Theatre Royal and Chapelfield Gardens to Grapes Hill roundabout).

The scheme also involves making Cleveland Road and Bethel Street two-way. Work at the Grapes Hill roundabout and on Cleveland Road is also due to start on Monday. Changes to two-way operation will allow the permanent closure of Little Bethel Street to vehicles.

The changes are part of the £1.7m Transport for Norwich scheme, which will ultimately also see general traffic banned from St Stephens Street. A new bus lane has been put in place on Grapes Hill as part of the project.

The Chapel Field Action Group had hoped to secure a judicial review of the decision to make Chapel Field North two-way, saying the noise and vibration of an endless flow of heavy traffic would threaten the foundations and fabric of some of the most attractive and historically important homes in the city.

But judge Elizabeth Cooke rejected all their arguments, including that the councils had failed in their European law obligation to carry out full ‘screening’ investigations as to the potential environmental impact of the proposals; that the councils should have considered the ‘cumulative impact’ of the schemes and that the council had only carried out a ‘generic analysis’ of the threat to the fabric of the buildings.

Bert Bremner, Norfolk County Council representative on the Norwich Highways Agency Committee, said: “The scheme will introduce some really positive changes to the transport network in the city benefitting motorists, cyclists as well as pedestrians.

“It is important that we continue to look at ways to reduce driver pedestrian conflicts on Norwich’s busiest roads to try and create a positive environment for the people of Norfolk and those visiting our city.”

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said: “These improvements will reduce traffic in the city centre making it a more pleasant place for shoppers and cyclists and will also improve the reliability of public transport services.”

During the road closure of Chapel Field North, buses will not use the bus stops on Rampant Horse Street (next to St Stephen’s Church). This change will come into effect early, from Saturday 5 July due to the Lord Mayor’s Procession.

From Sunday, First Red Line services 23/24, and Konectbus service 5 will use St Stephens Street bus stop BP. First Orange Line services 21/22 and Yellow Line services 28/29 will use St Stephens Street bus stop BQ. First Blue Line service 25 will use the new bus stop on Red Lion Street BM (adjacent to Barclays Bank).

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