Consultation into £6.2m road shake-up delayed

Campaigners have said not opening the bus lane on Dereham Road to other traffic causes congestion. P

A bus lane in Dereham Road, Costessey - Credit: Archant

City dwellers will have to wait longer to see how one of the busiest routes linking the suburbs to the centre could be changed for drivers - at a cost of £6.2m.

Proposals for the project to shake-up the layout of Dereham Road were due to go out for public consultation by Norfolk County Council early this year, according to Costessey Town Council vice-chairman Gary Blundell.

Costessey Town Council member Gary Blundell.

Costessey Town Council vice chairman, Gary Blundell - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Conservative county councillor, Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, confirmed a consultation would be launched this summer.

Potential changes include two new bus lanes from Longwater Lane to Bowthorpe Roundabout, the speed limit on Dereham Road being cut from 40mph to 30mph, and the removal of the underpass from Breckland Road to Bowthorpe Park to be replaced with a cycle and pedestrian crossing.

Mr Blundell said: "The new crossing should be done. The main concern is the amount of congestion on Dereham Road."

He believed this was because of the introduction of more 24/7 bus lanes "for buses that don't run".

He added "Money is being spent in Costessey which is something I welcome but it has to be the right scheme and benefit all drivers rather than the minority of people that use a bike or bus."

Other proposals could also include a £4.1m mobility hub off Bowthorpe Roundabout featuring bus stops, cycle parking, car club spaces and Beryl bike bays.

Chairman of the Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill.

Chairman of the Costessey Town Council, Dan Burrill. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Dan Burrill, town council chairman, said: "My personal view is I'd rather the council got it right rather than rush plans. People are keen to see them. Some aspects are controversial including the bus lane."

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He thought it was a good to look at bus and cycle options with the fuel price increases.

Martin Wilby, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport on Norfolk County Council - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Mr Wilby added: “The proposals are designed to improve safety and provide better connections between areas whether travelling by bike, on foot or public transport.

“Data coming through from our projects are demonstrating the positive difference the Department for Transport’s investment is making to bus services in Norwich. It’s not just about the time savings at these individual locations, though, but the piecing together of a combined benefit to the whole public transport network that will accumulate as we deliver more schemes."