Move to axe traffic lights at Norwich roundabout set to be agreed

Grapes Hill roundabout, Norwich. Roadworks will begin on Monday.Photo: Bill DarnellCopy: For:

Grapes Hill Roundabout. - Credit: Bill Darnell

A revamp of one of Norwich's busiest roundabouts - which will see some of its traffic lights removed - is on the brink of being approved.

Grapes Hill roundabout is earmarked for a £333,000 revamp, with councillors due to make a decision on whether it goes ahead when they meet on Thursday, June 10.

And officers say taking out two sets of the roundabout's traffic lights could shave up to four minutes off trip times for motorists in the morning rush hour.

Almost 61pc of people who responded to public consultation backed the removal of the traffic lights.

Just over 21pc of those who responded said they disliked or strongly disliked the removal of the traffic lights.

Norfolk County Council officers say getting rid of them would "significantly reduce journey times" for buses using Dereham Road, Earlham Road and Unthank Road.

They said: "Traffic modelling shows savings of around two minutes in the morning peak period and up to seven in the evening peak.

"It also shows reduced journey times for general traffic, saving
up to four minutes in the morning peak."

The lights at Cleveland Road and Chapel Field North would be retained, while there would be new toucan crossings on Convent Road.

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New pedestrian crossings and extended cycle paths are also proposed.

However, civic watchdog The Norwich Society does not support the scheme, saying it would worsen journey times for pedestrians and cyclists.

They said removing the traffic lights would increase the speed of motor vehicles.

Richard Bearman, spokesman for Norwich Cycling Campaign. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Richard Bearman, chairman of the Norwich Cycling Campaign. - Credit: Archant

And Richard Bearman, chairman of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, previously warned the changes - which include shared use cycle/pedestrian paths the group does not support - could make it a 'no-go area' for cyclists.

The council said it had made adaptations to the scheme, including a wider footway/cycleway on the south side of Convent Road.

First Buses has backed the scheme, saying the current junction caused "significant fluctuations in journey times".

The company said the changes would mean a "constant and reliable service", encouraging more people to use buses.

The scheme would be paid for using a slice of the £32m cash awarded to Norwich via the government's Transforming Cities Fund.