Traffic officers return to Norwich to tackle Christmas gridlock

As the Christmas shopping rush gets under way, traffic officers are back in Norwich to keep the traffic moving.

This weekend accredited traffic officers have been trying to make sure that car park queues at Chapelfield and the main Castle Mall car park do not cause gridlock.

Shoppers are urged to take notice of the electronic car park capacity signs, and have a 'Plan B' for parking, so that if they can't get into their first-choice car park, they have other options in mind. The traffic officers (accredited by the police and with power to direct traffic) are used in Norwich to keep traffic flowing when the flood of Christmas shoppers queuing for car parks threatens to gridlock the city centre, affecting all roads users – including the emergency services.

As well as moving people on from the end of car park queues, they have stepped in to unblock junctions such as St Stephens Street roundabout.

'These traffic officers really are the unsung heroes of Christmas shopping in Norwich,' said county councillor Tony Adams, chairman of the highways agency committee.

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'They do a difficult job with great professionalism and without them Norwich would be much less attractive for Christmas shopping.

'People would be spending far more time in their cars, and less time in the shops so a bit of Christmas spirit from motorists is well deserved.' Norwich is the only city in the country where these officers are used to control Christmas shopping traffic in this way. They were first brought in by Norfolk County Council, with the support of the city council, in 2008 after Christmas shopping traffic brought the city to a standstill.

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