Major work to replace busy Norwich roundabout to restart in new year

Sweet Briar Road roundabout in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Sweet Briar Road roundabout in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Work to improve a busy Norwich roundabout is set to resume after a Christmas break.

Contractors started the major work on the roundabout on Norwich's ring road, where Sweet Briar Road meets Dereham Road, in August this year.

But work to enlarge the roundabout on the road itself stopped for the festive period.

It will start again in the new year on January 2 and is expected to finish at the end of April next year.

Some business owners in the area are concerned about the work as they claim it has already reduced passing trade.

The approved changes will see the current roundabout replaced by a larger one.

New pedestrian crossings on Dereham Road, near the Gate House Pub, and Guardian Road, on the approach to the roundabout, have been built as part of the major project and are in use.

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New 30mph speed limits will be introduced in parts of Sweet Briar Road and Guardian Road.

The roundabout is used by about 40,000 vehicles a day and is often clogged up with traffic at rush-hour.

It was agreed by Norfolk County Council bosses, who backed the changes in January 2017, that an upgraded roundabout would ease congestion and pave the way for better bus services.

Tony Vraja, owner of Norwich Garage on Guardian Road Industrial Estate, which carries out any car-related work, said his business was 50pc down since the roadworks started.

He said customers had to sometimes wait for up to an hour extra for MOTs to be completed because of delays in parts being delivered.

Mr Vraja said: 'All local people avoid the road. If people avoid the road it makes us lose business. '

Jetmir Kaceli, owner of Miri's Hand Car Wash, also on Guardian Road Industrial Estate, said business had been 'very slow' in terms of passing trade and return customers since roadworks started.

He said: 'I'm sure the work is going to make the roundabout bigger and better. The sooner the work finishes, the better.'

Martin Wilby, chair of the council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'Upgrading this junction will help traffic flow and bus journey times as they stand but will also increase its potential capacity for the future.'