‘Rush hour mayhem means it’s quicker to get to coast than across the city’
- Credit: Ben Hardy/Chris Harvey
Just when it seemed like Norwich drivers might finally be able to get around the city with relative ease, a new crop of roadworks has started causing chaos on busy city routes.
Transport for Norwich works are currently creating havoc in Riverside Road and St Williams Way in Thorpe St Andrew – two major thoroughfares out of the city.
The work is designed to bolster accessibility by all forms of transport around the city and to improve air quality.
But the short-term impact is leaving staff who work in the area wondering whether it’s even worth turning up for work.
The snarl-ups occurring at rush hour every day in St Williams Way are due to road resurfacing, upgrading traffic signal equipment and building new cycling lanes with islands between Margetson Avenue and 80 metres west of Thor Loke.
Costing £330,000 in total, the work is expected to be completed by mid-June having begun in April.
Chris Harvey, marketing manager of ABC Taxis in Norwich, said it is currently taking him longer to drive across the city than it is to get home to Hemsby, a few miles north of Great Yarmouth.
This is due to getting stuck in rush hour traffic in St Williams Way and Ketts Hill which then creates a bottleneck effect heading towards St Crispins Road.
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Mr Harvey said: "Our drivers can choose which shifts they do and we have seen a percentage of drivers not want to be out at rush hour.
"It becomes unviable being stuck in traffic for up to an hour. We advise customers - with the amount of roadworks and more coming up - to leave enough time for their journeys."
It comes after Norfolk County Council was criticised for booking ‘competing’ roadworks in the city.
At the time a spokesman said it works hard to coordinate road closures.
Jo Lawn, a weight plan consultant based just off St Williams Way, said many of her customers are using cut-throughs in a bid to avoid the roadworks.
She said: "I am never in favour of roadworks which make you go an extra distance, especially with the cost of petrol at the moment."
Hannah Edwards, of the BeauTea Lounge a few doors down, said many of her customers have also complained about the roadworks.
The beautician said: "It has had an effect on customers being able to get here on time.
"It is adding up to 10 minutes to a lot of people's journeys and it is obviously a bit of an annoyance for people.
"My parents live in St Williams Way where double yellow lines have been put in. It is causing a lot of problems."
Chrissie Rumsby, Labour county councillor for Mile Cross, is frustrated that yet more roadworks are earmarked for her ward.
A new cycle and bus lane will be put into Mile Cross Road after similar schemes took place in Cromer Road and Aylsham Road.
She said no date has been confirmed for these upcoming works.
Mrs Rumsby said: "The whole of Norwich feels like: 'How do you get around without encountering a set of roadworks?'.
"My concern with the Mile Cross Road bus lane is where people will park because many people can't park in their houses and have to park along the road.
"People are not going to be happy and will end up parking on grass verges so these roadworks can have a real domino effect."
The county council has been contacted for comment.
Councillor Martin Wilby, chairman of the Transport for Norwich joint committee, previously said the projects in the city are delivering on the aims at the heart of the government-funded programme of work, which was agreed by the council’s cabinet in 2020.
He said the works will help reduce bus journey times.
Regarding the roadworks in St Williams Way, Thorpe St Andrew Conservative county councillor Ian Mackie said: "I am pleased that the crossing improvements in St Williams Way are being delivered.
"Naturally there have had to be roadworks to implement them but they will be welcomed by pedestrians once finished."