Drivers using petrol station forecourt to bypass road closure at key Norwich roundabout
Three months of work has begun to make a key Norwich roundabout safer - but some drivers have found a way to bypass one of the road closures.
Construction of the £765,000 cycle safety scheme at Earlham Fiveways got under way today, with three of the five roads leading off the Fiveways roundabout on Earlham Road closed.
While Earlham Road itself is still open, Bluebell Road, Earlham Green Lane and Gipsy Lane have been shut, with no access to the roundabout.
However, some motorists heading down Earlham Green Lane have been bypassing the road closure, by driving through the forecourt of the Tesco Express petrol station to rejoin Earlham Road and cross the roundabout.
A Tesco spokesperson said staff had not reported any issues, but said: "We were approached by Norfolk County Council ahead of the planned roadworks on Earlham Road regarding access to the store and petrol filling station forecourt.
"We will continue to liaise with the council throughout the works to try to minimise any disruption and the store remains open as normal."
Transport for Norwich, which is behind the scheme, has been contacted for comment about drivers using the petrol station forecourt to get around the road closure.
The first day of the closures, which will continue until the end of August, saw lengthy queues on Earlham Road, although the hold-ups on the roundabout itself were mainly triggered by the existing pedestrian traffic lights being used.
With the other roads closed, diversions are in place.
The project will see the roundabout's central island resized and the three signalled crossings upgraded to toucan crossings, which allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely.
As well as improved street lighting and the addition of traffic islands on the four busiest arms of the roundabout, a new raised table and 20mph speed limit will be put in place on Gypsy Lane.
The work has been made possible through funding of nearly £700,000 from the Department for Transport (DfT) through its Cycle City Ambition grant along with £65,000 of additional funding from Norfolk County Council's safety scheme budget.
Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for the Transport for Norwich partnership, said: "This work is in direct response to higher-than-average accident records at the Fiveways roundabout, which show cyclists to be at highest risk of personal injury.
"It's important that we continue to source DfT funding for projects like this, which significantly improve major cycle routes and hopefully encourage less confident cyclists to take to the road more regularly.
"We apologise that there will be disruption while the changes take place and would like to thank everyone for their patience. This has been programmed so most of the work will be over the school and university summer holidays to help reduce the impact."
A further £1m of DfT Cycle City Ambition funding was given to Norfolk County Council improvements along the Earlham Road green pedalway as part of the same grant award.
Full details of the project and more details of traffic management, including diversion routes, are available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/earlhamroad