Staff sent home early as customers avoid village due to traffic 'mayhem'
PUBLISHED: 09:21 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:23 04 September 2019
People in a village which has been affected by hundreds of days worth of roadworks in the past two years have hit out at the council for the timing of its latest 'chaotic' closure.
Traffic cones, temporary lights and queues might be a familiar sight in Hethersett, with more than 107 sets of roadworks carried out in the past two years, but for those living and working in the village, the ongoing disruption is proving too much.
The latest work to install a new section of pedestrian and cycle path from Wymondham to Norwich began on Monday and is already causing serious delays on the affected B1172 Norwich Road, which will be controlled by temporary traffic lights for 10 weeks at Churchfield junction.
With schools reopening today following the summer break, concerns are mounting over further congestion as parents attempt to drop their children off at nearby schools.
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Fiona Jolliffe, who has children at Hethersett Junior School, said she felt the council had timed the works badly.
She said: "It's mayhem. There's so many routes affected so you have to wait a long time for the lights to turn green on any one section. Even in the middle of the day the roads were awful so I don't know how on earth we're expected to get to work with that going on."
Linda Willgress who owns Church Farm Shop on Norwich Road said the shop had been empty since yesterday afternoon, and that she had been forced to send staff home early.
She said: "The roadworks are right outside the shop; it's been a nightmare. People aren't going to sit in traffic to come here, they'll just go somewhere else. Things have got to be done but they aren't thinking about businesses."
A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: "We appreciate the frustrations of the local community, particularly given the volume of recent works in the area but the duration of this project and it's fit with our wider programme means it would not be possible to complete during the school holidays.
"We are seeking to minimise disruption by avoiding the need for a full road closure as much as possible and ensuring traffic signals are manually controlled during peak hours, as well as liaising with neighbouring businesses and imposing a 20mph speed limit through the site to improve safety."