'It's going to be nose to tail' - Weeks of city roadworks to begin

Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Exchange Street, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

City centre traders say they are gearing up for weeks of potential "chaos" when roadworks at a busy Norwich roundabout begin.

Work to improve Cleveland Road and Grapes Hill is set to begin at the end of this month and could continue until the end of November.

It will see a new zebra crossing installed on Cleveland Road, and it is hoped the removal of two sets of the Grapes Hill roundabout's traffic lights could take up to four minutes off morning rush hour journey times for motorists and speed up buses.

Exchange Street in the city centre will bear the brunt of roadwork diversions, requiring the removal of planters, barriers and outdoor seating which were placed there last June, when the road was temporarily closed to general traffic.

Kane Freeman and Laz Damon, owner of the Wallow, on Exchange Street, said: "It's a shame, the customers have really utilised the [outdoor] space.

"Obviously, if they need to divert traffic down here that's fine, but hopefully, they put it back afterwards."

They said it was a shame for the people who are not comfortable with coming inside due to the coronavirus.

Exchange Street

Exchange Street - Credit: George Thompson

Daniel Polewany, manager of Cote Brasserie, said he did not expect the change to impact them much as the weather turned colder but welcomed outdoor seating returning.

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However, Christopher Cooper, of Tolar Jewellery Norwich, was concerned the diversion would lead to "chaos".

Mr Cooper said the street had benefitted from being closed to general traffic last year - previously, hundreds of cars each day would park there.

"We would get a massive gridlock, I've told them if they take that barrier away it will make it even worse."

Angela Stephenson of the Natural Food Store said there was no use fighting the plans.

"It's going to be nose to tail with traffic," she said. "But it is three months and then it is over. We will find a way to adapt."

In a letter to Exchange Street business owners and residents, Norfolk County Council said the news might be "disappointing and frustrating", but stressed it did not pre-empt the outcome of a consultation on proposals to make the closure to general traffic permanent.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said the works would cause some disruption, but that the plans were being delivered now to keep disruption to a minimum and deliver benefits for walkers and cyclists.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council said the works would lead to improvements for walkers and cyclists - Credit: Simon Parkin

"During this time, I would like to ask people to plan their journeys ahead and allow extra time when travelling through the area," he said.

“These are significant projects which will bring significant improvements for all modes of transport in this area of Norwich so I would like to thank everyone affected for their patience while work takes place.”

Road work plans:

Tuesday, August 31 until the work is complete:

  • No left-turn out of Bethel Street into Cleveland Road to access Grapes Hill roundabout. Diversion via St Giles Street and Exchange Street.
  • Cleveland Road will be one-way only eastbound, heading away from the roundabout (access maintained into Cleveland Road from the roundabout but not out of Cleveland Road onto the roundabout – diversion as above.)

Monday, September 6 until work is complete:

  • Convent Road closed westbound (heading away from Grapes Hill towards Unthank Road). Diversion via Chapelfield Road, Newmarket Road, Colman Road and Earlham Road.
  • No access to Unthank Road from Convent Road and Earlham Road – access to Unthank Road will be from Colman Road, via the diversion above.
  • Lane closures on Grapes Hill roundabout.
  • Pavement closure on Hamlet Centre side of Convent Road (up to four weeks).
More work will be carried out at Grapes Hill next year.

More work will be carried out at Grapes Hill next year. - Credit: Archant

Tuesday, August 31 until Monday, October 11:

  • All traffic will be able to access Upper St Giles Street from Cleveland Road but will not be able to leave Upper St Giles via Cleveland Road. Existing one way system via Cow Hill and Willow Lane will be reversed to allow vehicles to exit Upper St Giles Street via Willow Lane.
  • No vehicle entry to Bethel Street from Cleveland Road. Access to Bethel Street will be via St Giles Street and St Peters Street.
  • On-street permit parking on Willow Lane suspended.
  • On-street pay and display parking suspended on Bethel Street side of Cleveland Road.
  • One on-street permit parking space suspended outside 15 Cow Hill to allow access traffic to turn right into Willow Lane
  • Loading bay outside 69 Bethel Street suspended

Additional evening road closures

  • Sunday, September 26 (5pm to 7am), Monday, September 27 (7pm to 7am) and potentially Sunday, October 3 (5pm to 7am), Cleveland Road will be closed for surfacing work. All traffic from St Giles Street, Bethel Street and Willow Lane will be diverted via Exchange Street. 
  • Short-term, overnight closures at the Grapes Hill roundabout will be needed for resurfacing in November. Further details will be provided nearer the time