Traders and drivers prepare for weeks of rush-hour roadworks queues
- Credit: Grace Piercy
The first night of major city roadworks was marked by bumper-to-bumper traffic in the centre of Norwich.
Rush-hour on Tuesday evening, the first after works on Grapes Hill started, saw queues form down St Giles Street to Duke Street as of 5.15pm.
Cars moved slowly along the diversion, queuing down St Giles Street and Bethel Street, in front of City Hall, to the recently fully reopened Exchange Street, and onto St Andrews Street and Duke Street.
Queues also snaked up St Andrews Street to St Martin-at-Plea church and in the opposite direction to Westwick Street.
The work will see a new zebra crossing installed in Cleveland Road, and from Monday, September 6, a £330,000 revamp of the Grapes Hill roundabout, where the diversion begins, will start.
It will see some traffic lights removed and changes made to cycle routes and crossings.
Angela Stephenson, of the Natural Food Store on Exchange Street, said "it's going to be nose to tail with traffic".
However, Daniel Polewany, the manager of Cote Brasserie on Exchange Street, said the road reopening "doesn't really affect us too much, especially with the weather changing".
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Exchange Street had been closed to most vehicles during the pandemic, as councils looked to enable al fresco dining and increase space for pedestrians, but will now be reopened while the works continue.
"We won't suffer too much," he said. "But we are looking forward to getting the seating area back so we can have some more tables outside."
Kane Freeman and Laz Damon, the owners of The Wallow on Exchange Street, said: "It's such a shame the seating area is gone, for the time being. It made customers feel more safe going out, knowing they could sit outside. People could be warier with winter approaching.
"But the council are going to do what they will."
The roadworks on Grapes Hill are planned to last until the end of November, meaning the diversions and city centre traffic caused by them will continue until then.
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